1994 Part 3 – Older Horses

Colonial Affair winning the 1994 Jockey Club Gold Cup (Jason Moran)

The 1994 Series continues with the Older horses of 1994. You guessed it, the same caveats apply as before, let me know if something doesn’t look quite right or if you can shed some light on actual race order. I’ve created a section on the side bar over there to the right that handily links to each post in the series.

Older Males

Many talented horses returned in 1994. Champion Older Horse Bertrando and stakes winners Devil His Due, The Wicked North returned as 5yos. California gelding Best Pal returned as a 6yo. Sea Hero, the 1993 Derby and Travers winner, and stakes winners Colonial Affair and Pistols and Roses also returned as 4yos.

On the west coast no one swept the Strub Series, but Pistols and Roses started his year off with a bang (har har) by winning the Donn for the second straight year. He’s one of only three horses to win it twice. Check out his win in 1993 where he breaks a 7 race losing streak by winning at 44-1!

The Wicked North, who recently arrived at Old Friends, kicked off his year by winning the San Antonio as a prep for the Santa Anita Handicap. While he finished first in the Big Cap, he was disqualified and placed fourth (see the footnotes… too bad there’s no replay!).

Before the end of the spring The Wicked North had also won the Oaklawn and the Californian, Devil His Due took time away from his busy schedule of biting tax collectors to win the Brooklyn and the Suburban and Colonial Affair won the Excelsior.

Pistols and Roses, Devil His Due and Colonial Affair got their summer under way in the Whitney at Saratoga. Coming into the stretch all three of them looked to be in contention, but it was Colonial Affair with 4 wide move who came on strong to take the lead. Devil His Due went with him and they battled down to the wire with Colonial Affair winning it in a photo. Pistols and Roses didn’t fire (sorry). Old Friends resident Williamstown was also in this race.

Back on the west coast Best Pal, Bertrando, Slew of Damascus, who won the Hollywood Gold Cup, Stuka, who won the Santa Anita Handicap when The Wicked North was DQ’d, and Tinner’s Way, who had yet to win a stakes race as 4yo met up in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Front running Bertrando and Slew of Damascus promptly started a suicidal speed duel and Bertrando only held on for about half of the race. Slew of Damascus held on for a bit longer, but was done going into the stretch. Best Pal and Tinner’s Way sat well off of the insane pace and started their runs as Bertrando faded, coming wide into the stretch. Both were strong but Tinner’s Way held on for his only stakes win of the year.

Going into the fall, Bertrando set the pace again in the Goodwood but was the lone speed. He looked done going into the stretch as Dramatic Gold came wide with a strong move and Toss of the Coin moved up between them. Just when it looked like Bertrando had thrown in the towel he found more and gutted it out to win.

Back on the east coast the Woodward was shaping up to be one of the best races of the year with the kind of deep field we only see in Breeders’ Cup races these days. Holy Bull, Go for Gin, Pistols & Roses, Colonial Affair, Tinner’s Way, Brunswick, Devil His Due and the 93 Woodward winner Bertrando made up the field. It seems like only Tabasco Cat and Concern were missing!

According to this article from the Sports Illustrated Vault, Holy Bull was so on the muscle in the week leading up to the Woodward that he kicked a hole in his stall! As fate would have it, it was to be Holy Bull’s last race of the year as owner/trainer Jimmy Croll apparently made some sort of clerical error that precluded Holy Bull from being entered in the Breeders’ Cup.

The Woodward was Holy Bull’s last race of the year. Because of a clerical error, Croll didn’t nominate him for the Breeders’ Cup, which will be held on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. Croll could supplement him to the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Classic for $360,000. But he won’t—not because of the money, he says, but because the colt has been training virtually nonstop for a year and a half, and Croll feels the Bull needs a rest so he can come back strong as a 4-year-old next season. “You could give me a half million dollars tax-free, and I wouldn’t run him in the Breeders’ Cup,” Croll said. “This horse has been good for me, and now it’s time for me to be good to him.”

The Times says it better than I could:

In a smashing performance that ended his racing year and may have won two championships in less than two minutes, Holy Bull dazzled a field of seven all-star rivals at Belmont Park yesterday as he swept to a five-length victory over Devil His Due in the Woodward Stakes.

In addition to the race below there’s also a clip of the post race broadcast. Holy Bull wasn’t the only 3yo to do well with the older horses, in a muddy Kentucky Cup Classic Tabasco Cat beat Best Pal, who was a lackluster third.

For those going on to the Breeders’ Cup there was still Jockey Club Gold Cup, which also drew a competitive field including Pistols and Roses, Colonial Affair, Tabasco Cat, Devil His Due and Go For Gin. Derby winner Go for Gin and Pistols and Roses set the pace. Go for Gin was going backwards before they even got to the stretch but Tabasco Cat and Devil His Due came for their try at Pistols and Roses. Colonial Affair, the 1993 Belmont winner, came 4 wide around all of them, got the lead and never looked back avenging his loss to Miner’s Mark by a nose in the 1993 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

93 Derby winner Sea Hero didn’t win any stakes races in 1994, but he placed in the Bowling Green and showed in the Brooklyn. And after showing up for a lot of dances, the hard knocking Best Pal finally got a stakes win for 1994 in the Native Diver at the end of the year.


Pacific Classic:



Kentucky Cup Classic:

Jockey Club Gold Cup:

Older Females

The Distaff division saw a lot of talent returning in 1994 as well. Champion Older Female for both 92 & 93, Argentinian born Paseana, returned for her 7yo campaign. She absolutely romped in the 92 Distaff and placed by a nose in 93 to Hollywood Wildcat, 1993’s Champion 3yo Filly, who also returned as 4yo.

Sky Beauty, the last filly to win the Triple Tiara also returned as a 4yo. In 93 she won the Acorn, Mother Goose, Coaching Club Oaks, Alabama and the Rare Perfume. She showed in the Distaff, which was probably the only thing that kept her from winning the Champion 3yo Filly honors. According to Wikipedia:

In 1993-94, the filly dominated the New York distaff scene as a 3- and 4-year-old. She won 10 graded stakes races, eight of which were Grade I events. She took the three Grade I races that made up the former Triple Tiara—the Acorn Stakes and Mother Goose Stakes and the Coaching Club American Oaks. As well as these, she won the Grade I Alabama Stakes and the Grade II Rare Perfume Stakes. Sky Beauty seemed destined for a 3-year-old championship, but lost out to Hollywood Wildcat after that filly clinched it with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Racetrack.

Dispute, winner of the 1993 Oaks, Beldame, Bonnie Miss, Test and Gazelle also returned as a 4yo as did stakes winner Nine Keys, who passed away this year due to foaling complications, and yet to be stakes winner Supah Gem. Exchange, a 6yo multiple stakes winner on both surfaces, spent most of her year on the turf.

Supah Gem got right down to business winning her first graded stakes in the El Encino in early January and promptly followed it up with a win in the Santa Margarita where she beat super filly Paseana. Paseana didn’t waste any time coming back to win the Santa Margarita for the second time, having won in 92. She also won the Chula Vista, now known as the Clement L. Hirsch, in an exciting blanket finish.

Nine Keys also started off the year with a bang winning the Rampart at Gulfstream and then going on to take the Apple Blossom by sitting mid-pack and make a nice move going into the stretch. Hollywood Wildcat did not start her year off with bang, showing in the La Canada.

Sky Beauty, having already won the 7f Vagrancy, continued what would be a 5 race winning streak in the Shuvee winning by 9 lengths. In the Hempstead, now known as the Ogden Phipps, she only won by a neck but came back to crush the Go For Wand field by 10 and half lengths.

In the Ruffian, she met up with Exchange, Dispute and Educated Risk. Educated Risk lead the pack with Sky Beauty and Dispute not far behind. Sky Beauty came up to take the lead at the quarter pole but Dispute offered a challenge in the stretch with a late run. Sky Beauty held on to score her 5th consecutive win.

Hollywood Wildcat switched to the turf for 3 races following her 4yo debut in the La Canada. She did well, winning one race and placing by a head and a neck in the other two. She returned to the dirt in the fall in the Lady’s Secret where she met up with another turfer, Exchange. Her return was triumphant as she wired the field, but not without having to work for it, as Exchange was right there with her in the stretch.

After placing in the Ruffian and showing in the John A. Morris Handicap, Dispute finally gets her stakes win of 1994 in the Spinster with a hand ride. And speaking of hand rides, talented 3yo Heavenly Prize took a break from her busy schedule of knocking around 3yos to win the Beldame over Educated Risk and Classy Mirage, both of whom will be covered more in the upcoming Sprinters/Milers post.

Apple Blossom:

Go For Wand:

1994 Chula Vista (Clement L. Hirsch)


Lady’s Secret:



In the final post of the series, Breeders’ Cup / Eclipse Awards / where are they now, we’ll see how everyone faired. As always, I want to know what you thought of these horses. I know some of you were there… share your memories! Was the handicap division really that deep? Did I miss it not being able to see Sky Beauty? The next post in the series will be the Turf horses of 1994.