By Mint Julep

Cannonade Before and Beyond the Kentucky Derby

kentucky derby winner cannonade 1974

In this exciting story, we delve into Cannonade’s early life and family history, tracing his roots back to influential ancestors like Bold Bidder and Queen Sucree. We follow his impressive racing career guided by trainer Woody Stephens, leading up to a thrilling victory at the 1974 Kentucky Derby. Explore how Cannonade left a lasting legacy as a successful stud horse, siring offspring that continued his winning tradition on the racetrack. Learn about the enduring impact of Cannonade beyond his racing days as he shaped future generations of Thoroughbreds with his exceptional pedigree and genetic heritage.

Early Life and Family Background

Cannonade was born in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky on May 12, 1971. He comes from a long line of impressive horses tracing back to Almahmoud, a distinguished broodmare whose descendants include famous horses like Northern Dancer and Halo. John M. Olin bred Cannonade; he was an important figure in Thoroughbred horse racing known for his eye for excellence. Right from his early days, it was clear that Cannonade had the potential for greatness.

Growing up under Olin’s guidance, Cannonade thrived in Kentucky’s beautiful bluegrass fields that have seen many champions rise to fame. Sired by Bold Bidder and Queen Sucree as his dam, this bay colt not only had an impressive pedigree but also a natural talent for speed and competition that would soon capture the hearts of racing fans worldwide. Nature and nurturing molded him into more than just a racehorse; they shaped him into a symbol of ambition and possibility.

As Cannonade raced across the pastures with grace and power, little did he know that each stride was leading him towards future glory at racetracks all over America. With every breeze through his mane and thundering hoofbeats echoing through Kentucky’s rolling hillsides, he sharpened his skills for upcoming battles on tracks where victory tasted sweeter than summer honeydew.

In those early years filled with sunshine-soaked mornings and cool evening breezes whispering tales of victories yet to come, Cannonade absorbed not only training but also love from those around him who saw beyond his physical appearance to acknowledge the spirited soul within him. Their care sculpted him into a steed destined for greatness—a champion-in-the-making whose name would soon be remembered alongside other legends who left their mark on racing’s prestigious grounds.

And so amidst whispers of excitement carried by gentle winds caressing lush meadows grew Canonnde from a promising foal into an impressive contender ready to claim glory at top races unlike any other—his journey unfolding like chapters in an exciting novel where each twist held suspense tinged with hope as fans eagerly awaited if this lively colt could indeed outrun destiny itself.”

Racing Career

Under the tutelage of the renowned Woody Stephens, Cannonade kicked off his racing career at just two years old on the New York State circuit. He quickly showcased his talent by winning races like the Great American Stakes and Aqueduct Handicap, setting the stage for a bright future ahead.

In 1974, this impressive colt rose to stardom by making history with a spectacular victory at the prestigious Kentucky Derby. With jockey Ángel Cordero Jr. guiding him skillfully, Cannonade not only displayed incredible speed but also exceptional stamina, establishing himself as an up-and-coming star in Thoroughbred racing.

Cannonade’s triumph at Churchill Downs was more than just a one-time achievement; it marked the beginning of an extraordinary campaign that would capture attention across America. His win at the Kentucky Derby acted as a springboard for bigger dreams, sparking aspirations of conquering other iconic races as he pursued lasting glory in horse racing history.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Racing icons amaze and earn respect.

  2. They demonstrate the highest level of skill and athleticism in their sport.

  3. Racing icons produce memorable moments that go down in sporting history.

  4. Their charisma and talent draw new fans to the sport.

  5. Their influence endures, motivating upcoming racers.


  1. Trying to excel at very high levels can cause burnout and physical strain.

  2. Famous racers might deal with intense media attention and invasion of privacy.

  3. The focus on winning in racing can sometimes hide the spirit of good sportsmanship.

  4. Racing legends often face injuries that affect their careers and health.

  5. The demands on famous racers could be too much, leading to mental health struggles.

1974 Kentucky Derby Victory

In 1974, Cannonade clinched a remarkable victory at the Kentucky Derby that was far from ordinary. This win wasn’t just about speed and strength – it was a bold demonstration of determination and skill that awed the spectators at Churchill Downs. With jockey Angel Cordero Jr. expertly guiding him through the pack, Cannonade surged ahead to etch his name in history with an impressive lead of 2¼ lengths as he crossed the finish line.

The teamwork between horse and rider was flawless, highlighting how crucial it is for both to work seamlessly together to secure such a prestigious title like the Derby. The energy on that unforgettable day crackled with excitement as cheers filled the air while Cannonade blazed towards victory under Angel Cordero Jr.’s exceptional guidance.

The sun gleamed off his sleek chestnut coat as they thundered down the homestretch, leaving their competitors behind in awe. Passing by Churchill Down’s iconic twin spires, it was clear this duo had built an unbreakable bond based on trust and understanding right from their first steps onto those legendary grounds.

After triumphing at Churchill Downs, Cannonade earned well-deserved praise; proving himself not just another contender but a dominant force in Thoroughbred racing circles. His victory wasn’t only significant for him but also for trainer Woody Stephens whose sharp training techniques were vital in shaping Cannonade into a champion ready to seize Derby glory – setting them on track for even greater achievements as they pursued Triple Crown greatness.

Triple Crown Races

Cannonade’s journey through the Triple Crown races was like a wild rollercoaster ride, full of thrilling highs and disappointing lows. His victory in the Kentucky Derby highlighted his incredible talent, but he faced tough competition in both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, finishing third in each race. Although he didn’t quite achieve the coveted Triple Crown title, Cannonade’s determination on the racetrack made a lasting impression on fans.

The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course posed a major challenge for Cannonade as he battled fiercely against strong competitors. The race pushed his speed and endurance to their limits, though he couldn’t replicate his earlier success at the Kentucky Derby. Still, coming in third solidified his reputation as one of top contenders in Thoroughbred racing world-wide.

When it came to competing at Belmont Park for the final leg of the Triple Crown series, Cannonade once again gave it his all despite facing fierce competition. The demanding 1.5-mile distance of the Belmont Stakes tested not only physical stamina but also mental strength. Though victory eluded him yet again this time around; however, Cannonade’s perseverance shone brightly during this challenging test among champions.

Even though victories at both Pimlico Race Course and Belmont Park proved elusive after winning big at Churchill Downs during that memorable Kentucky Derby run; nonetheless,Cannonade’s performance throughout these prestigious races left an indelible mark on horse racing history books.With raw talent and unwavering spirit shining through,his valiant efforts continue to be celebrated by fans as one of America’s beloved racehorses who dared to dream big on some of horse racing’s grandest stages.

Legendary American Thoroughbred: Cannonade Snapshot

Attribute Information
Sire Bold Bidder
Grandsire Bold Ruler
Dam Queen Sucree
Damsire Ribot
Sex Stallion
Foaled 12 May 1971
Died August 3, 1993
Country United States
Colour Bay
Breeder John M. Olin
Owner John M. Olin
Trainer Woody Stephens
Record 25: 7-3-6
Earnings $501,164
Major wins Great American Stakes (1973), Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (1973), Aqueduct Handicap (1973), Stepping Stone Purse (1974), Kentucky Derby (1974)

Stud Career

After retiring from racing at the end of his 1974 season, Cannonade moved on to become a stud at Gainesway Farm. There, he fathered some impressive horses like Heavenly Ade and Caveat who went on to win big races such as the Delaware Handicap and Belmont Stakes. Cannonade was known for passing down his speed and stamina traits to his offspring, making him a top stallion in American Thoroughbred racing.

Cannonade’s success didn’t stop at the racetrack; many of his descendants excelled in different equestrian events too. Breeders sought out his bloodline to enhance their own horses with those winning qualities that made Cannonade stand out as a fierce competitor. This ensured that Cannonade’s influence extended beyond just horse racing into shaping future generations of athletic horses across various disciplines.

As time went by and new champions emerged in horse racing, Cannonade’s impact lived on through the performances of his descendants, reminiscent of his own glory days on the track. His role as a sire resonated throughout the world of horse breeding, leaving an enduring mark on American Thoroughbred history. The echoes of Cannonade’s greatness reverberated through bloodlines for years ahead, serving as a reminder of this extraordinary athlete turned distinguished sire whose legacy continued galloping forward into posterity.

Death and Legacy

Cannonade was a phenomenal racehorse who had an incredible career, and even though he doesn’t race anymore, his influence continues through the generations. His offspring inherited his fiery spirit and love for racing, carrying on his legacy in the world of Thoroughbred competition. The bloodline he passed down reflected his speed and determination, ensuring that Cannonade’s name would always be remembered.

Horse racing fans still hold fond memories of Cannonade for winning the Kentucky Derby and giving it his all in pursuit of Triple Crown titles. Every time he raced, he made history by captivating audiences with his champion performances. Even after retiring from racing, Cannonade remained a symbol of excellence and resilience within the sport.

Trainers and jockeys who had worked closely with him praised his talent and charisma both on and off the track. They shared stories of intense training sessions filled with determination as well as thrilling races where they could feel Cannonade’s competitive drive pushing him towards victory. His impact wasn’t just limited to races but inspired those around him to strive for greatness in their own pursuits.

When news broke about Cannonade passing away at twenty-two due to natural causes, tributes poured in from across the racing community. Fans who cheered him on from grandstands along with breeders recognizing how he influenced future champions all mourned the loss of an icon whose presence will be dearly missed. His absence left a void reminding everyone involved in horse racing that legends like Cannonade are irreplaceable figures shaping the sport.

In celebrating Cannonades’ life achievements within Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts highlighted not only his wins but also how he embodied resilience under pressure throughout a remarkable career journey .His story serves as inspiration for young horses aiming high on prestigious tracks worldwide—a testament that true champions leave lasting legacies far beyond finish lines or record books.

Fascinating Lore Surrounding Cannonade and the Kentucky Derby

  1. ## The Intriguing Story of Cannonade and the Kentucky Derby

  2. **Unbeatable Run:** In 1974, a stunning chestnut colt named Cannonade arrived at the Kentucky Derby boasting an impressive winning streak of five races. This incredible achievement drew in racing fans and built excitement around his upcoming performance at the prestigious event.

  3. **Triumphant Victory:** The 1974 Kentucky Derby win by Cannonade is steeped in captivating tales and folklore. Some say that signs and omens foretold his success, adding an aura of mystery to his triumphant run on the iconic Churchill Downs track.

  4. **Trainer's Expertise:** Guided by trainer Woody Stephens, Cannonade's triumph in the Kentucky Derby elevated Stephens' status as a skilled horseman within the racing world. Stephens' talent for preparing horses for high-profile events like the Derby contributed to the enchanting narrative surrounding Cannonade's journey to victory.

  5. **Post-Derby Pursuits:** Following his memorable win at the Kentucky Derby, Cannonade continued to excel in prominent races, showcasing both skill and determination on every lap he ran. His performances after securing victory added layers to his reputation as a fierce competitor in horse racing circles, firmly establishing him as a legend within this sport.

  6. **Lasting Impact:** Beyond just clinching victory at the Kentucky Derby, Cannonade left behind a legacy that continues to inspire future generations involved with horseracing – be it participants or fans alike. His tale serves as a timeless reminder of all that makes this renowned race so cherished: its thrill, drama, and unpredictability which have kept enthusiasts captivated throughout history.

Pedigree Analysis

Exploring Cannonade’s family tree uncovers connections to famous racing horses like Bold Ruler through his father, Bold Bidder, and Ribot through his mother, Queen Sucree. This mix of prestigious bloodlines played a key role in shaping Cannonade’s talent on the racetrack and leaving a lasting genetic legacy.

Cannonade comes from a line of top-notch Thoroughbred horses that reads like a who’s who in the world of horse racing. With ancestors such as Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Northern Dancer proudly listed in his lineage, it’s no surprise he had exceptional speed and stamina during races.

The infusion of these well-known bloodlines undoubtedly helped mold Cannonade into the incredible racehorse that he was. It seemed as though generations of outstanding horse breeding came together within him, pushing him towards greatness with every powerful stride along the track.

Bold Bidder passed down genes to Cannonade that gave him an unbreakable spirit akin to steel forged in fire – tough, determined, and resolute. This inner strength shone brightly during important races where Cannonade showed unmatched perseverance that left fans amazed.

When looking at Cannonade’s ancestry closely, one can’t help but be fascinated by how destinies intertwined when these majestic animals roamed the earth. Each hoofbeat resonating stories of past victories while setting new paths for future generations to admire and draw motivation from.

Impact Beyond Racing

Cannonade came from a long line of impressive horses and had exceptional qualities that have been passed down through many generations, playing a significant role in Thoroughbred breeding. His descendants like Upset the Apple Cart and Cannon Blast have continued his remarkable legacy by achieving great success in major races such as the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Belmont Stakes. This ongoing triumph highlights Cannonade’s crucial contribution to improving American bloodlines for future champion horses.

After retiring from racing, Cannonade became a highly sought-after stallion because of his winning genes and perfect build. The foals sired by him fetched high prices at auctions, not only due to their physical abilities but also because buyers were eager to own offspring linked to Cannonade’s enduring popularity. His influence goes far beyond just racing; it extends globally into breeding programs, establishing him as an essential figure in modern Thoroughbred lineage.

Additionally, Cannonade’s impact spans various equestrian disciplines beyond traditional flat racing. With his descendants excelling in activities like show jumping and eventing, it proves how adaptable and versatile his genetic stamp is across different competitive fields. This adaptability showcases Cannonade’s strong genetics as a stallion whose heritage thrives outside typical race tracks—demonstrating the lasting power of superior bloodlines shaping diverse equine talents worldwide.


1. How did Cannonade's Kentucky Derby victory shape his legacy in the world of horse racing?

Cannonade made history by winning the Kentucky Derby, proving his incredible talent and paving the way for a successful career that would have a lasting influence on horse racing.

2. What challenges did Cannonade face as he pursued the Triple Crown races after his Derby win?

Cannonade won the Kentucky Derby in 1974, but faced tough challenges in the following Triple Crown races because of injuries and strong competition from other talented horses.

3. What distinguished Cannonade from other prominent American-bred racehorses of his time?

Cannonade stood out from other top American racehorses of his time because he was fast, strong, and determined. He won the famous Kentucky Derby and showed everyone that he was a tough competitor on the racetrack.

4. How did Cannonade's success on the racetrack impact his career as a stud horse?

Cannonade's triumphs on the racetrack, such as winning the Kentucky Derby and chasing after the Triple Crown races, made him well-known as a top-tier racehorse. This led to many high-quality mares being drawn to his breeding shed, cementing his reputation as a successful stud horse with an impressive legacy.

5. What lasting contributions has Cannonade made to the Thoroughbred racing industry, both in terms of bloodlines and racing achievements?

Cannonade made a significant impact on the Thoroughbred racing world with his win at the Kentucky Derby in 1974. His strong bloodlines have influenced many future champion horses, establishing him as a noteworthy American-bred racehorse and sire.

6. Can you elaborate on any memorable moments or anecdotes from Cannonade's racing career that showcase his talent and spirit?

During Cannonade's racing career, he achieved a remarkable win at the 1974 Kentucky Derby. In this iconic race, he showcased his incredible speed and unwavering determination to secure victory in America's most prestigious horse race.