By Mint Julep


Forward Pass Before and Beyond the Kentucky Derby

forward pass 1968 kentucky derby winner

Forward Pass had a mixed racing career, full of both success and controversy. His win at the 1968 Kentucky Derby stands out as a major achievement. Before this triumph, he demonstrated his skills on the track by winning important races like the Everglades Stakes and Florida Derby. Even after the Derby win, Forward Pass continued to impress by clinching victory in the Preakness Stakes but narrowly missing out on securing Triple Crown glory at the Belmont Stakes. His legacy is still discussed today in relation to integrity issues within horse racing, particularly due to how he won that historic Kentucky Derby race.

Early Life and Family Background

Forward Pass, was born in the United States on March 28, 1965. He stood out as a top Thoroughbred racehorse bred by Calumet Farm, one of the best-known breeding farms in America. His parents were On-and-On and Princess Turia, who had already achieved great success at races like the Kentucky Oaks.

Growing up at Calumet Farm’s prestigious program, Forward Pass inherited not just good looks but also a legacy of excellence. His family tree included past champions and hinted that he might achieve greatness too. As he played in the lush fields as a young horse, no one could have predicted that this colt would later become famous for his speed on the track and be involved in some controversy.

As Forward Pass matured into a strong competitor at racetracks across America, fans admired his skill and determination. Every time he raced towards victory, he added to his reputation as an outstanding racehorse. Fans eagerly anticipated each new race where skilled jockeys rode him to glory.

The journey from simple beginnings to impressive performances wasn’t always smooth for Forward Pass; challenges tested him physically and mentally during competitive races where winning came down to split-second decisions. Despite facing setbacks now and then ,this spirited stallion never lost sight of his goal – making history in horse racing through sheer resilience and ambition against all odds .

In summary Early Life is an important part of understanding what made Forward Pass more than just another racehorse – it turned him into a symbol of determination amid unpredictable circumstances where quick thinking under pressure often leads to success .

Racing Career

When Forward Pass burst onto the racing scene at three years old, he immediately caught everyone’s attention with his impressive combination of speed and stamina. Winning prestigious races like the Everglades Stakes showcased his potential as a serious competitor on the track. Every stride he took left spectators in awe of his grace and determination.

One of Forward Pass’s most memorable moments was when he triumphed in the Florida Derby, solidifying his reputation as a top-notch racehorse. The thundering sound of hooves hitting the dirt reverberated through the stadium as he surged ahead with unwavering focus. Fans cheered loudly, swept up in excitement at witnessing greatness unfold right before their eyes.

His victory in the Blue Grass Stakes further established Forward Pass’s legacy as an exceptional runner with an unyielding drive to win. Jockeys were amazed by his power and agility, recognizing him not just as a competitor but also as a dominant force on any given race day. Each win brought him closer to etching his name into horse racing history books.

As Forward Pass continued to dominate Triple Crown prep races, anticipation for his performance at Churchill Downs grew immensely. Spectators eagerly awaited seeing if this promising colt could maintain his winning streak all the way to glory at one of America’s most esteemed horse racing events. The stage was set for what would become an unforgettable chapter in racing history.

With every stride along that revered Kentucky Derby track, Forward Pass displayed not only raw talent but also sheer determination that distinguished him from other contenders vying for victory under those iconic Twin Spires on that fateful day. While some controversy may have surrounded part of his journey after the race, there is no denying how much impact he had made on horse racing enthusiasts worldwide through extraordinary feats across various tracks.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Future athletes and fans draw inspiration from racing legends.
  2. They inject excitement and prestige into the world of horse racing.
  3. Their tales and accomplishments enrich the sport’s history.
  4. Racing legends frequently make a positive impact on charitable causes and community initiatives.


  1. Current athletes often feel overwhelmed by the expectations of living up to a legendary status.
  2. Some racing legends may encounter scrutiny or controversy that damages their legacy.
  3. The attention given to past legends can sometimes overshadow the achievements of present-day athletes in the sport.
  4. Juggling between honoring tradition and welcoming change can pose challenges for individuals.

1968 Kentucky Derby Controversy

In a surprising twist of events, Forward Pass made history by becoming the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby after another horse was disqualified. The original winner, Dancer’s Image, got in trouble for testing positive for phenylbutazone. This led to his disqualification and Forward Pass being declared the new victor.

The scandal at the 1968 Kentucky Derby shook up the world of horse racing. It sparked debates and discussions among fans and experts alike because nothing like this had happened before. It showed how important it is to play fair and follow the rules in one of horseracing’s biggest events worldwide.

Forward Pass’ victory in such a dramatic way not only cemented his spot in racing history but also shed light on doping rules within the sport. This incident made people pay more attention to drug tests in sports like horseracing and stressed why honesty and fairness are crucial.

Even though some people had mixed feelings about Forward Pass’ win due to its controversial nature, no one can deny that he proved his exceptional skills throughout his career. His impact goes beyond just one race; he left a lasting impression on horseracing enthusiasts who still admire him for what he could do on the track.

Overall, what happened at the 1968 Kentucky Derby Controversy shows us how unpredictable sports can be—and how even small slip-ups can lead to big consequences. It reminds us why we should always uphold principles of fairness and good sportsmanship while appreciating incredible athletes like Forward Pass who amaze us with their talent and determination.

Triple Crown Campaign

After his controversial victory at the Kentucky Derby in 1968, Forward Pass aimed for more racing success as he continued his campaign. The journey towards claiming the Triple Crown was thrilling and attracted fans from all corners.

Filled with anticipation and excitement, Forward Pass made history by winning the Preakness Stakes. The crowd erupted in cheers as they watched him surge past the finish line, solidifying his status as a remarkable horse destined for greatness.

Despite an impressive showing at the Preakness Stakes, Forward Pass faced a tough challenge at the Belmont Stakes against Stage Door Johnny. In a nail-biting race, he narrowly missed another win but left an enduring impression on all who witnessed his determination and skill.

The Triple Crown campaign cemented Forward Pass’s reputation as a legendary contender in horse racing history. His grit and talent shone brightly throughout each competition, leaving a lasting impact on those lucky enough to witness this exceptional athlete in action.

While he may not have secured every jewel of the coveted crown, Forward Pass’s legacy endures as proof of resilience and passion within horse racing circles. His tale is inspiring to both seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers alike—a reminder that success isn’t always about winning every race but consistently putting your best hoof forward whenever you hit the track.

Legendary Stallion: A Racing Phenom

Attribute Value
Sire On-and-On
Grandsire Nasrullah
Dam Princess Turia
Damsire Heliopolis
Sex Stallion
Foaled March 28, 1965
Died December 1, 1980
Country United States
Colour Bay
Breeder Calumet Farm
Owner Calumet Farm
Trainer Henry Forrest
Record 23: 10-4-2
Earnings $678,231
Major wins Flash Stakes (1967), Hibiscus Stakes (1968), Everglades Stakes (1968), Florida Derby (1968), Blue Grass Stakes (1968), American Derby (1968), Kentucky Derby (1968), Preakness Stakes (1968)
Awards TSD U.S. Co-Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1968)
Honours Forward Pass Stakes at Arlington Park

Awards and Recognition

In 1968, Forward Pass earned the title of TSD U.S. Co-Champion 3-Year-Old Colt due to his outstanding performances all season long. Although he narrowly missed winning the Triple Crown, his impressive races at various tracks across the country left a lasting impression on horse racing history.

His thrilling runs captured the attention of audiences and created high expectations wherever he competed. Being named Co-Champion not only recognized his natural talent but also highlighted his determination and fierce racing style. Fans were drawn to Forward Pass’s fighting spirit in tough races, making him a respected competitor among his peers.

This honor cemented Forward Pass’s place in horse racing history by showcasing his ability to excel even when faced with strong competition. His impact went beyond individual victories, inspiring future jockeys and trainers to aim for greatness in every race they participated in. As a Co-Champion, Forward Pass embodied resilience and perseverance – serving as an example of how one can leave a significant mark on such a dynamic industry like horse racing.

Retirement and Legacy

After retiring from racing in late 1968, Forward Pass began a new phase as a stallion at Calumet Farm. His impressive lineage and successful racing career made him a top pick for breeders seeking to improve their bloodlines with his combination of speed and endurance.

Forward Pass’s time as a stud was unexpectedly cut short when he was sold to Japan in 1977. This decision altered his legacy, moving him away from the American scene where he had won over many horse racing fans during his competitive days.

The drama surrounding Forward Pass reached its peak with his controversial victory in the 1968 Kentucky Derby. Despite crossing the finish line second behind Dancer’s Image, Forward Pass was named the winner after drug tests revealed traces of phenylbutazone in Dancer’s Image system, resulting in disqualification.

Even following his passing while still stationed in Japan back in 1980, discussions about fairness and sportsmanship persisted around Forward Pass’s name within horse racing circles. The ongoing debate regarding his triumph at the ’68 Derby acts as a reminder of how significant moments can not only impact individual careers but also shape an entire sport for years to come.

Enthralling Tales of Racing Legends and Lore

  1. ### Fascinating Stories of Racing Legends and Lore
  2. **The Kentucky Derby Win That Stirred Up Controversy:** Back in 1968, Forward Pass clinched victory at the Kentucky Derby following Dancer’s Image disqualification due to a failed drug test. This win ignited heated debates and controversies that still stir excitement among racing fans today.
  3. **Breaking Barriers: Ismael Valenzuela’s Historic Ride:** Ismael Valenzuela made history by guiding Forward Pass to triumph at the Kentucky Derby, becoming the first Mexican jockey to achieve this prestigious feat. His masterful ride added an extra layer of significance to Forward Pass’s epic win.
  4. **Chasing Glory: Forward Pass’s Quest for Triple Crown:** After his thrilling Kentucky Derby victory, Forward Pass went on to secure second place in both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, narrowly missing out on capturing the coveted Triple Crown title. His stellar performances cemented his status as a legendary figure in horse racing.
  5. **Embracing Challenges: The Enduring Legacy of Forward Pass:** Despite falling short of winning the Triple Crown, Forward Pass remains celebrated as a gifted and resilient racehorse whose story embodies the unpredictable nature of horse racing and unwavering competitive spirit.
  6. **A Lasting Impact: How Forward Pass Shaped Horse Racing Beyond** Beyond his illustrious career on the track, Forward Pass has left an indelible mark on horse racing through his bloodline. Descendants of this iconic steed continue to excel at elite levels of competition, ensuring that his legacy lives on for future generations of passionate racing enthusiasts to admire and enjoy.

Pedigree Analysis

Forward Pass came from a long line of impressive ancestors like Nasrullah and Heliopolis through his dad, On-and-On, and mom, Princess Turia. This strong family history played a big part in his success on the racetrack. His genes were like a special recipe passed down over time, blending just the right mix of speed, stamina, and determination that made him stand out from other horses.

It was as if Forward Pass had inherited echoes of past wins that cheered him on with every step he took around the track. With top-notch genetics and expert training working together, Forward Pass became a force to be reckoned with on the racetrack – showing true equine excellence. His breeding wasn’t just names on paper; it showed how ancestry could shape destiny in horse racing.

As Forward Pass raced towards victory after victory, it became clear that his pedigree wasn’t just about names but a roadmap leading straight to greatness. Each stride he took felt like honoring his famous ancestors who paved the way for him to make history in horse racing.

By exploring Forward Pass’s lineage, you’d uncover more than just names – you’d find tales of triumphs and setbacks written into his DNA. It was this rich heritage that pushed him forward not only across finish lines but also into people’s hearts and minds as one of horse racing’s most respected figures.

Impact on Horse Racing History

The 1968 Kentucky Derby was rocked by controversy when Forward Pass claimed a surprising victory that shook up the world of horse racing. Initially coming in second to Dancer’s Image, Forward Pass was declared the winner after it was revealed that Dancer’s Image had tested positive for a banned substance following the race. This unexpected turn of events sparked intense debates about fairness and honesty in the sport, highlighting the importance of enforcing rules and standards to ensure fair competition.

Following Forward Pass’ controversial win at the Derby, significant changes were made to how drug testing was conducted in horse racing. This incident shed light on the crucial need for clean competition and prompted authorities to establish stricter procedures to prevent doping scandals from tarnishing future races. It marked a turning point that reshaped regulations within horse racing, emphasizing transparency and accountability as keys to preserving the credibility of the sport.

Despite his tainted victory at Churchill Downs, Forward Pass proved himself as an exceptional racehorse throughout his career. Beyond his disputed triumph, he achieved notable successes at prestigious events like Arlington Classic and American Derby, demonstrating his speed and endurance on various racetracks across America. His ability to excel under diverse conditions solidified his reputation as a versatile competitor capable of performing well under different circumstances.

Forward Pass’ legacy goes beyond mere controversy; it serves as an example of resilience and adaptability in competitive sports. His journey showcases how setbacks can be overcome through determination and skill, inspiring fans and fellow competitors with his story of redemption amidst challenges. By facing obstacles with grace and tenacity, Forward Pass left a lasting impact on horse racing history that transcends simple victories or defeats.

Looking back now, 40 years later since completing their Sophomore year around age 19-20 forward pass remains an intriguing figure whose influence endures over time—a reminder both of achievements attained through hard work and hurdles conquered with unwavering determination. His name sparks discussions about ethics in sportsmanship while encouraging contemplation on how rules shape our views on success within competitive arenas like horse racing.

Delving into this remarkable steed’s history unveils not just one colt’s tale but also imparts lessons that deeply resonate with those striving for glory amid unpredictable courses set before them

Continuing Controversy

The debate over Forward Pass’s win at the 1968 Kentucky Derby still sparks discussions among horse racing fans. Comparisons are made to other cases of disqualifications that have influenced perceptions of integrity in racing competitions over time. Originally, Dancer’s Image won the race but later, Forward Pass was declared the winner due to prohibited substances found in Dancer’s system during post-race drug testing. This change not only affected the outcome of this prestigious event but also raised concerns about fairness and following rules within horse racing.

After his controversial victory at Churchill Downs, Forward Pass faced intense scrutiny and speculation. Despite officially being named the champion, doubts remained among both supporters and experts about whether he truly earned his title or if outside factors had played a role in determining the winner. The situation escalated as legal battles unfolded between involved parties, adding more complexity to an already contentious issue that became a significant part of horse racing history.

Looking back on Forward Pass’s triumph at the 1968 Kentucky Derby serves as a reminder of how unexpected events can reshape narratives in competitive sports dramatically. His impact goes beyond just numbers; it signifies a crucial moment where rules were challenged, decisions were questioned, and lessons on good sportsmanship reverberated through generations. As controversies arise and fade in different sporting arenas, Forward Pass remains a symbol of strength—a representation of resilience during uncertain times when victory hinges on interpretations that could change destinies forever.


1. What was Forward Pass’s racing career like leading up to the 1968 Kentucky Derby?

Forward Pass excelled in racing before the 1968 Kentucky Derby, triumphing in various stakes races and proving to be a strong competitor in the horse racing scene.

2. How did the controversial finish of the 1968 Kentucky Derby impact Forward Pass’s legacy?

The 1968 Kentucky Derby ended in controversy when Forward Pass was named the winner after Dancer’s Image got disqualified for using medication. This event became a defining moment in horse racing history and forever linked Forward Pass with one of the most debated moments in the sport.

3. What changes were implemented in horse racing rules following the 1968 Kentucky Derby controversy involving Forward Pass?

After the controversial 1968 Kentucky Derby incident with Forward Pass, horse racing officials changed the rules to disqualify a horse if its interference affected the race’s result. This change significantly altered how such situations were handled.

4. How did Forward Pass’s performance in subsequent races after the Kentucky Derby shape his legacy in horse racing history?

Forward Pass proved his talent and resilience in races following the controversial 1968 Kentucky Derby. These strong performances solidified his legacy as a top racehorse, showing his true potential and earning him respect in the horse racing world.

5. What lasting impact did Forward Pass have on the sport of horse racing and its regulations?

The 1968 Kentucky Derby created a stir when Forward Pass won in a controversial victory. This incident prompted officials to revise horse racing rules, resulting in the implementation of the “disqualification rule” to guarantee fair competition and alter race outcomes.

6. How is Forward Pass remembered and celebrated within the horse racing community today?

The horse racing community still talks about Forward Pass today because of his amazing racing career, the controversial finish at the 1968 Kentucky Derby, and how he left a lasting mark on the sport.