By Mint Julep


Count Fleet Before and Beyond the Kentucky Derby

kentucky derby winner count fleet 1943

Join us on an exciting journey to explore the incredible story of Count Fleet, a remarkable racehorse who rose to fame after leaving Stoner Creek Stud farm in Paris, Kentucky. Learn about how this ordinary colt became a legendary champion with the help of trainer Don Cameron and jockey Johnny Longden. Experience his historic victory at the Triple Crown in 1943, where he showcased unmatched speed and grace that forever changed American horse racing history.

Early Life and Family Background

Count Fleet was born on March 24, 1940 at Stoner Creek Stud farm in Paris, Kentucky. From the moment he entered the world, there was a sense of greatness surrounding him. His family history hinted at a future filled with extraordinary achievements waiting to be realized. Despite not being particularly attractive and starting off as quite wild, Count Fleet’s fate seemed predetermined—a legacy just waiting to unfold within the thrilling world of horse racing.

With trainer Don Cameron guiding him and jockey Johnny Longden steering his path, Count Fleet rapidly transformed from an unpolished gem into a radiant star that captured everyone’s attention. Together, they molded this spirited young colt into a model of elegance and strength—a symbol of unwavering determination charging towards victory with every powerful stride on racetracks near and far.

Watching her beloved colt grow and develop right before her eyes must have been truly remarkable for Fannie Hertz. Witnessing his evolution from an ordinary foal into a magnificent champion destined for everlasting fame created an unbreakable bond between owner and horse—one built not only through shared triumphs but also by highlighting Count Fleet’s relentless spirit that blazed brightly across the landscape of horse racing legends.

Introduction to Racing

Count Fleet didn’t have the best start to his racing career, losing his first two races. However, he quickly turned things around by winning a race at Aqueduct Park for new horses. This win marked the beginning of his incredible journey to becoming one of the top competitors in horse racing. With wins at prestigious events like the Wakefield Stakes and Pimlico Futurity during his early years in racing, Count Fleet’s talent was undeniable.

As Count Fleet raced on various tracks, spectators couldn’t help but be amazed by how dominant he was. His smooth movements, combined with exceptional speed and endurance, not only proved him as a skilled racer but also as an upcoming legend in the making. Each stride he took seemed to leave a lasting impression through history—a reminder that he wasn’t just another horse; he was destined to become an iconic figure whose legacy would live on for generations well beyond his time on the track.

More than just victories and recognition, Count Fleet embodied something deeper—a spirit that resonated with all who watched him compete. It wasn’t merely about running; it was about gracefully moving towards a destiny filled with achievements—leaving competitors lagging behind in admiration. Every race became a showcase of excellence where fans witnessed greatness unfolding right before their eyes.

Count Fleet’s influence went beyond trophies and championships; it left its mark on horse racing history itself. His lineage carried forward his essence—an unyielding spirit that continued shaping future champions long after his powerful hooves had thundered down those revered tracks. In each descendant bearing even a hint of his bloodline lay echoes of greatness passed down from father to offspring—a testament that legends never truly vanish; they simply transform into new versions while carrying Count Fleet’s enduring brilliance within them.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends’ Impact


  1. Inspiring the next wave of racing enthusiasts
  2. Celebrating the vibrant past and heritage of horse racing
  3. Displaying the talent and commitment of legendary racehorses
  4. Fostering curiosity in the world of horse racing
  5. Shining a light on how iconic horses have influenced popular culture


  1. This can steal the spotlight from current accomplishments in the racing scene.
  2. It might create false ideas about what today’s racehorses should achieve.
  3. This could cause misunderstandings about how tough modern horse racing really is.
  4. It may make people see past racing times through rose-colored glasses.
  5. It might ignore other significant individuals and impacts in this sport.

Dominance in Triple Crown Races

Count Fleet made a lasting impact that goes way beyond just winning the Kentucky Derby. His dominance on the track in 1943 wasn’t just about winning; it was about showing unparalleled superiority. At the Preakness Stakes, he left his competitors far behind by an impressive eight lengths, proving himself as a force to be reckoned with in horse racing history.

The Belmont Stakes saw Count Fleet achieve victory in a truly magnificent way. He won by an incredible 25-length margin, setting a record that stood for some time and leaving spectators amazed at his extraordinary talent. This performance didn’t just secure him another win; it redefined what excellence meant on one of America’s biggest stages for horse racing—an achievement that would be remembered for years to come.

Even after his Triple Crown victories, Count Fleet’s influence lived on through his offspring—ensuring that he continued to make an impact on future generations involved in thoroughbred breeding and competition. As a sire, he passed down traits like speed, endurance, and determination to his descendants who proudly carried forward his legacy with skill and pride. Each time one of Count Fleet’s descendants hit the track today echoes back to how this legendary stallion shaped their lineage forever—a powerful reminder of how one exceptional horse can leave an unforgettable mark on equestrian history.

Success as a Sire and Broodmare Sire

Count Fleet wasn’t just successful on the racetrack; his legacy lived on through his descendants. One of his notable offspring, Count Turf, won the Kentucky Derby and continued the family’s winning streak. The Belmont Stakes also saw victories from horses influenced by Count Fleet: Counterpoint and One Count, showcasing a strong bloodline that excelled in prestigious races.

His impact extended beyond racing as well when he became a broodmare sire and produced Kelso, a legendary five-time Horse of the Year. Kelso’s incredible accomplishments not only solidified Count Fleet’s reputation but also showcased how exceptional genes can be passed down through generations. Each horse descended from this American racing titan carried echoes of greatness with them—a testament to both nature and nurture shaping champions for years to come.

Through descendants like Kelso who inherited his majestic traits, Count Fleet was more than just a champion himself—he lit up pathways for future stars to follow. His story didn’t end with wins on tracks; it became part of equine history, inspiring awe and admiration in those who recognized the profound impact he had on horse racing—an immortal saga told hoofbeat by hoofbeat across time’s sprawling turf.

Fast and Furious: Racing Highlights at a Glance

Date Age Distance Race Track Odds Field Finish Margin Time Condition
Jun 1, 1942 2 5 furlongs Maiden Special Weight Belmont Park 4.10 16 2 (1+1/2 lengths) 0:57 2/5 fast
Jun 15, 1942 2 5+1/2 furlongs Maiden Special Weight Aqueduct *1.35 14 2 (1+1/2 lengths) 1:06 1/5 fast
Jun 19, 1942 2 5+1/2 furlongs Maiden Special Weight Aqueduct *0.75 10 1 4 lengths 1:06 fast
Jul 4, 1942 2 5+1/2 furlongs Allowance (Army & Navy) Empire City *1.15 6 1 5 lengths 1:05 4/5 fast
Jul 15, 1942 2 5+3/4 furlongs East View Stakes Empire City *0.50 6 2 (1 lengths) 1:08 fast
Jul 22, 1942 2 5+3/4 furlongs Wakefield Stakes Empire City *0.65 4 1 4 lengths 1:07 4/5 fast
Aug 11, 1942 2 6 furlongs Allowance Washington Park *0.50 9 1 Neck 1:13 good
Aug 15, 1942 2 6 furlongs Washington Park Futurity Washington Park 4.80 11 2 (Neck) 1:12 fast
Sep 15, 1942 2 6 furlongs Allowance (Mars Purse) Aqueduct *0.70 10 1 Neck 1:12 fast
Sep 24, 1942 2 6 furlongs Allowance Belmont Park *1.40 13 1 2+1/2 lengths 1:10 3/5 fast

Induction Into Hall of Fame

In 1961, Count Fleet was inducted into the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame, marking a significant moment that cemented his legacy as one of the greatest horses in racing history. This honor not only celebrated his exceptional skills on the track but also recognized his lasting impact on the sport.

Ranked fifth among the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century, Count Fleet’s position is a testament to his enduring influence and unmatched talent as a racehorse. His outstanding performances and dominant victories set him apart from his competitors, earning him praise that still resonates with fans today.

Count Fleet’s legacy goes beyond mere numbers; it represents an era characterized by excellence and elegance that remains timeless. His extraordinary abilities captured hearts far and wide, leaving a lasting impression on horse racing history that continues to inspire new generations.

By joining other legendary horses in the Hall of Fame, Count Fleet solidified his status as one of American horse racing’s most esteemed figures. His name proudly stands alongside those of giants, embodying courage, determination, and unwavering spirit—a true champion through and through.

Reflecting on Count Fleet’s remarkable career and well-deserved recognition in the Hall of Fame reminds us not only of his incredible accomplishments but also of how he shaped the future landscape for years to come. He remains an icon—an eternal flame shining brightly among horseracing legends throughout history.

Lasting Influence Through Offspring

Count Fleet’s impact lives on through his descendants, like Mr. Prospector, who have left a lasting impression in the horse racing world with their exceptional talent and speed that continues to captivate audiences globally.

The lineage of champions carrying Count Fleet’s extraordinary traits and track prowess has ensured that his legacy endures. These descendants embody the same grace and power that made Count Fleet a legend in American horse racing.

Breeders have strategically utilized Count Fleet’s genetic heritage to produce top-notch racehorses capable of excelling on various tracks. The enduring influence of this legendary stallion can be witnessed not only in record-breaking performances but also in the admiration of fans worldwide for his offspring’s continued success.

Count Fleet’s legacy serves as proof of his unmatched skill and dominance as a racehorse—a legacy that thrives through each new generation bearing his name towards future triumphs. This bloodline stands out as an excellent example of how one remarkable horse can shape history within an industry defined by speed, strength, and relentless determination.

Legendary Tales of the Champion Racehorse

  1. Legendary Stories of the Champion Racehorse: Count Fleet Leading Up to and After the Kentucky Derby
  2. Count Fleet’s Unstoppable Winning Streak:
  3. – Count Fleet dominated the racetrack, winning an impressive 16 out of 21 races throughout his career.
  4. – His standout moment came in the 1943 Kentucky Derby, where he crushed the competition by a remarkable 8 lengths and set a track record that remains unbroken today.
  5. The Triple Crown Victory:
  6. – In 1943, Count Fleet joined an elite group as only the sixth horse to clinch the prestigious Triple Crown by triumphing in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.
  7. – He stands out among few horses who have accomplished this extraordinary feat in horse racing history.
  8. Count Fleet’s Career-Ending Injury and Retirement:
  9. – Sadly, shortly after securing his Triple Crown win, Count Fleet suffered an injury that cut short his career abruptly.
  10. – Despite retiring early from racing, he left behind a lasting legacy as one of the greatest racehorses ever known.
  11. The Fable of Count Fleet’s Speed:
  12. – Rumor has it that Count Fleet was so swift that he once raced against time and outran a speeding train!
  13. – While this tale may be exaggerated, it highlights just how awe-inspiring were both speed and strength were on display when it came to him hitting those tracks.
  14. Impact on Future Generations by Influential Figure like Himself
  15. -Count Fleets accomplishments during his racing days made hiim not only successful but also influential figure for many generations later down line within world horses.
  16. -The descendants of many current champions can actually trace their roots back directly to count fleet which really cements him into legendary status among all other greats we know today!

Honors and Namesake Races

Count Fleet achieved incredible success both on and off the racetrack, earning numerous awards and lasting tributes due to his remarkable accomplishments. The Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack pays homage to this legendary stallion by showcasing his dominance and speed during races. Similarly, the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park honors his extraordinary sprinting abilities that astonished spectators.

These races celebrate not only Count Fleet’s unmatched triumphs but also highlight his significant impact on horse racing history. Whenever horses compete in these stakes races named after him, there is a noticeable respect for this exceptional champion who set new standards of excellence in the sport. His name brings to mind images of strength and brilliance that continue to inspire fans and horse enthusiasts across generations.

The Count Fleet Stakes and Sprint Handicap represent an era when one horse stood out among all others with unparalleled talent. Every stride taken by competitors aiming for victory in these prestigious events echoes Count Fleet’s greatness throughout time, ensuring that his legacy remains alive within American horse racing culture.

As each race bearing his name unfolds, we are reminded not just of Count Fleet’s exceptional skills but also of the enduring spirit he embodied – characterized by determination, grace under pressure, and unwavering commitment to excellence. Fans witnessing new champions emerge on tracks steeped in history pay silent tribute to a legend whose influence still resonates strongly over the world he once dominated with pure magnificence.

Death and Longevity Record

Count Fleet left a lasting impact that went beyond the racetrack, even after retiring. His passing on December 3, 1973, was significant as he set a record for being the oldest Kentucky Derby champion at that time. Living well into his thirties after racing, Count Fleet not only showed off his exceptional talent but also displayed resilience and strength in aging gracefully.

He spent his final days at Stoner Creek farm where he was buried among the rolling hills where once upon a time, you could hear his thunderous gallops echoing through the fields. The fact that Count Fleet outlived all other Derby winners until then shows how tough he was physically and how well he was taken care of during retirement. His long life stood as proof of the love and admiration showered upon him by those who saw more than just an incredible racehorse – they recognized a kind soul who made history in American horse racing.

As fans look back on this legendary stallion’s story, they remember more than just his victories on the track; they think about a spirit that defied expectations and embodied perseverance. Count Fleet’s journey from successful racer to respected elder resonates deeply with those who appreciate tales of greatness showcased by four-legged friends. In both life and death, he continues to inspire awe—a true giant whose legacy goes far beyond mere records or titles won many years ago.


1. How did Count Fleet’s dominance on the track during his racing career shape his legacy in the world of horse racing?

Count Fleet was an amazing racehorse who completely dominated the track with his incredible speed, strength, and numerous record-breaking wins. His legacy as one of the best racehorses ever is solidified by inspiring awe and admiration that lasts through generations in the horse racing world.

2. What notable achievements and records did Count Fleet set during his time as a racehorse?

In 1943, the incredible racehorse Count Fleet made history by winning all three prestigious races in the Triple Crown. His victory at the Belmont Stakes was truly extraordinary, as he triumphed with an impressive lead of 31 lengths. This outstanding achievement solidified Count Fleet’s legacy as one of the most dominant and awe-inspiring racehorses ever known.

3. How did Count Fleet’s success as a racehorse translate into his influence on future generations of racehorses?

Count Fleet was an incredibly successful racehorse who made history and left a lasting legacy of speed, stamina, and talent that still influences future generations of racehorses.

4. What impact did Count Fleet have on breeding practices and bloodlines within the horse racing industry?

Count Fleet had an amazing racing career and came from a strong family line. He won all three races of the Triple Crown, setting new standards for breeding practices that were followed by many others. His descendants carried on his legacy by winning races for years to come.

5. Can you elaborate on some of the most famous descendants of Count Fleet and their own accomplishments in the world of horse racing?

Absolutely! Count Fleet passed down his incredible skills to future generations, like the iconic Seattle Slew who won all races in 1977 and the impressive A.P. Indy who triumphed at the Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic, securing their spots in horse racing history.

6. In what ways has Count Fleet’s legacy transcended beyond the racetrack, leaving a lasting imprint on the sport of horse racing?

Count Fleet’s impact goes well beyond the racecourse, shaping the future of horse racing with his remarkable bloodline. His offspring have gone on to become champions, influencing breeding practices around the globe for generations to come.