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O Besos Could Join Rare Company with Kentucky Derby Win
O Besos (Credit: Coady Photography)

O Besos Could Join Rare Company with Kentucky Derby Win

If he wins the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 1, O Besos and his sire Orb could join rare company as just the 13th set of fathers and sons to conquer the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

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Like Father, Like Son

Like father, like son, we say, because of the similarities between fathers and sons. Applying the saying to horses, it’s all about bloodlines. Fathers and sons resemble each other, and from generation to generation, sons tend to do what their fathers did before them.

Of the past 146 Kentucky Derby winners, 12 sired a Derby winner(s), but it has been a quarter-century since Grindstone emulated his 1990 Derby-winning father, Unbridled, in 1996.

This year, however, there is a slight chance that number could increase by one. The 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb is represented by O Besos, who following the conclusion of the Kentucky Derby prep trail finished outside the initial Top 20 on the points list at 25, but he’ll draw into the field following multiple defections.

Trained by Greg Foley, O Besos ran an even fourth in the Risen Star (G2) when asked to stretch out from 6 to 9 furlongs in his first stakes attempt. He showed promise in the 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby (G2), rallying nicely up the rail to just miss second by a head.

Of the 12 esteemed Kentucky Derby winners who sired a subsequent winner, the 1930 victor Gallant Fox is the only Triple Crown champion to sire a Triple Crown champ. His son, Omaha, accomplished the feat in 1935.

That 5-year time frame for a Kentucky Derby-winning father/son combination is tied for the shortest span with Pensive/Ponder (more on them later).

The first Derby winner to sire one of his own was Halma. The 1895 winner was represented by Alan-A-Dale, winner of the 1902 running.

The 1943 Triple Crown winner Count Fleet, and the 1949 Kentucky Derby winner Ponder, hold the distinction as the only sons of Derby winners to win the race themselves and then also sire Derby winners of their own.

Count Fleet, sired by 1928 Derby winner Reigh Count, produced 1951 winner Count Turf.

Ponder, a son of 1944 winner Pensive, sired Needles, who wore the roses in 1956.

Bold Venture, who took the 1936 edition, stands atop the list with two sons to match him in Kentucky Derby glory. His first to win the coveted prize, Assault, became the 1946 Triple Crown champion. Four years later, his second Derby-winning son, Middleground, came shining through on the first Saturday in May.

In addition to winning the Triple Crown, Assault’s 8-length margin of victory is the largest in race history. He is one of four horses to accomplish that feat, and also the last.

Rare Air

Up to 20 horses will contest this year’s Kentucky Derby, but only O Besos can put himself and his sire into this exclusive group. 

Here’s the full list of Kentucky Derby winners who sired Derby winners (bold indicates Triple Crown winner):

  • Halma (1895) – Alan-A-Dale (1902)
  • Bubbling Over (1926) – Burgoo King (1932)
  • Reigh Count (1928) – Count Fleet (1943)
  • Gallant Fox (1930) – Omaha (1935)
  • Bold Venture (1936) – Assault (1946), Middleground (1950)
  • Count Fleet (1943) – Count Turf (1951)
  • Pensive (1944) – Ponder (1949)
  • Ponder (1949) – Needles (1956)
  • Determine (1954) – Decidedly (1962)
  • Swaps (1955) – Chateaugay (1963)
  • Seattle Slew (1977) – Swale (1984)
  • Unbridled (1990) – Grindstone (1996)

The Kentucky Derby is set for Saturday, May 1. The Racing Dudes’ Inside Track to the Kentucky Derby Wagering Guide will be available for pre-sale soon. Check back here as the date nears.

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