On Saturday, a mud-soaked colt trampled past the finish line at Churchill Downs into a Kentucky Derby victory.
In that golden second, Super Saver delivered the first Kentucky Derby victory to his ownership - WinStar Farm.
Todd Pletcher received the first Kentucky Derby victory in his training career.
Calvin Borel became the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times in a four-year period.
As Borel headed to the winner’s circle, he shot out a bold statement that set fire to the wonder of racing enthuasists.
“We’re going to win the Triple Crown this year.”
As the Preakness approaches, Borel’s prediction peaks the curiosity and arouses the hopes of many racing enthusiasts.
Racing fans have been dreaming of the next Triple Crown winner since Steve Cauthen rode into the history books with Affirmed in 1978.
Three decades later, Steve Cauthen’s younger brother holds the potential as President and CEO of WinStar Farm to deliver the twelfth Triple Crown winner in history with Super Saver.
Recently, I spoke with Doug Cauthen about Super Saver’s Kentucky Derby victory and the quest for the Triple Crown.
JW: Super Saver was the first horse owned and bred by WinStar Farm to win the Kentucky Derby. How does it feel to win your first Derby?
DC: It is truly hard to describe.
There was overwhelming joy, pride and thankfulness that Super Saver was able to do it.
To see so many people – from the owners, managers, grooms, maintenance crew, basically everybody – to get so much happiness and pride out of it is a real positive and satisfying thing.
I felt like we all should thank God for the victory.
JW: Your older brother, Hall of Fame Jockey Steve Cauthen, rode Affirmed to win the last Triple Crown in 1978. Do you think Super Saver could win the Triple Crown for your farm?
DC: I hope he can – I like Calvin’s prediction.
It was his Steve’s 50th Birthday on Derby day, so I felt like we had a little bit of good ‘mojo’ going there – that maybe something could happen. When the clouds parted and the sun came out right before the race, I had a calm and peaceful feeling.
I’m not quite as aggressive as Calvin with my predictions, but I’m on his side.
JW: Super Saver is by Maria’s Mon – sire of the fastest living Kentucky Derby Winner, Monarchos. Was this a factor in your breeding decision?
DC: We were very fortunate. We got Super Saver as part of a deal.
We bought Super Saver’s mother, Supercharger, when she was carrying Super Saver at the 2006 Keeneland November Sale. We were very blessed to have Super Saver as part of the purchasing package.
Supercharger’s got a beautiful pedigree – it’s one of the best pedigrees in the Stud Book. Supercharger is a full sister to a mare that we already had, called “She’s a Winner,” who is the dam of Bluegrass Cat. He is a multiple Grade I winner that we own and was second in the Kentucky Derby.
I hope that Super Saver can continue forward. He’s a beautiful horse – a balanced horse – with a great pedigree.
His pedigree is from one of the royal pedigrees in the Stud Book. With all the horses that are popping out of it that are so good – currently and in the last thirty years – it’s just been a magnificent family.
Being by Maria’s Mon, he’s going to offer a lot of outcross for breeders as well. It is a real positive for the breed.
JW: What do you see at the strengths in Super Saver as a racehorse?
DC: He’s got tactical speed and is very agile.
He can make his own race. He can be on the lead or sit back behind.
He’s got a tremendous amount of determination – he’s a very gutsy horse.
You can see that in his earlier races this year and during his races last year as a two-year-old.
It’s a combination that’s not only good for a racehorse, but for future stallions, so we are really excited about that.
JW: What is the general temperament of Super Saver?
DC: When he was on the farm being raised, he was a popular horse with everybody. He always had a forward attitude and a positive temperament.
DC: I think Elliott Walden (Racing Manager at WinStar Farm) deserves a lot of credit on that choice.
Todd is one of our primary trainers and gets a lot of horses that we think have potential. The fact that he trained Super Saver’s cousin, Bluegrass Cat, may have factored into it a little also. But, it clearly was a good choice!
We thought Super Saver was one of our early potential runners. Elliott said that we should give him to Todd. That’s what we did.
With Calvin, he was the best available rider when he came to the Kentucky Jockey Club race. Elliott sought him out – or encouraged Todd to seek him out – and the rest is history.
Super Saver won the Jockey Club last year as a two-year-old real impressively. He broke the stakes record, which was over a hundred-year-old record.
Calvin just gets along with Super Saver well. It is great to have him on board.
JW: Did Calvin Borel hold any special allure to your farm as a jockey in light of his recent Kentucky Derby victories?
DC: There is no doubt that he is an exceptional rider anywhere.
At Churchill Downs, he has that extra “Calvin Factor,” as I like to call it.
He really has a high level of confidence and horses run for him. He deserves credit at any race track.
He’s certainly got some good current form and it would be crazy not to take advantage of that if you can get him on your horse.
JW: How do you feel about owning the horse that delivered Todd Pletcher his first Kentucky Derby victory?
DC: For the farm, I think it was a really big feeling of satisfaction and pride in Todd. He was one of the first guys that we gave horses to when we divided the horses up between trainers.
He’s one of the best trainers in the country and will go down as one of the best trainers in history.
It seems like the press was focusing on his [Kentucky Derby] record unduly. It was great to see him win it and even greater to see his humility in taking the win.
He is a class act.
It is always fun to see people like that succeed.
JW: How did your farm celebrate your first Kentucky Derby victory?
DC: We’ve had quite a few celebrations.
We try to do something before the Derby because you obviously can’t expect to win – and we don’t. We just go there with the best horses we can and do the best we can.
On Thursday, we had a farm picnic for all of the staff. We had games, piñatas and plenty of food.
On Friday, we had another pre-Derby gathering with all the managers with the owners. It was a very nice event.
After the victory, some neighbors at Castle Post kindly invited us to celebrate with a hundred of our favorite friends. They hosted a wonderful gathering. It was really kind of Mr. Post.
It was also a great pleasure to see the inside of the Castle. We use it as a landmark to tell people how to get to WinStar quite often. It was great to see it and it was quite a nice spot.
JW: Where is the Rose Garland?
DC: It is currently getting preserved.
Hopefully, it will reside in the office sometime soon.
The Saturday Post would like to thank Doug Cauthen for his interview. We also appreciate the image of Super Saver provided by www.horsephotos.com. To view the photos from the Kentucky Derby at horsephotos.com, please click here.