By Mint Julep


His Eminence Before and Beyond the Kentucky Derby

his eminence kentucky derby winner 1901

Join us on an exciting journey through the incredible life of His Eminence, a bay Thoroughbred racehorse born in 1898 in Kentucky. Learn about his early years under the care of Overton H. Chenault, being sold as a yearling to J.B. Lewman for $500, and then soaring to fame with his historic victory at the Kentucky Derby in 1901 alongside jockey James Winkfield. Follow his ownership changes, return to racing at five years old under Fred Gebhard’s guidance, and tragic incident during steeplechase training while owned by William Collins Whitney. Discover His Eminence’s lasting impact on Thoroughbred racing history and contributions to the breeding industry.

Early Life and Family Background

In 1898, in the lush lands of Kentucky, a remarkable bay Thoroughbred racehorse named His Eminence was born. Bred by Overton H. Chenault with ancestors like Falsetto and Patroness, he exuded elegance and strength from the start. Purchased for just $500 as a yearling by J.B. Lewman, His Eminence set off on his path to greatness under those who saw his potential beyond any price tag.

As he raced through green meadows with trainers and caretakers guiding him, His Eminence’s spirit soared higher than any bird in flight. With each stride over Kentucky’s rolling hills, he refined his natural talent and innate grace that would later captivate audiences at racetracks near and far. It was during these early years that rumors spread about an upcoming star—a horse destined not only for fame but also to make history in the world of racing.

The sound of hooves filled the air as His Eminence faced challenges and victories along his journey. Through endless days of training under sunny or stormy skies, he formed bonds with humans whose passion for racing matched his own—an unbreakable camaraderie woven together tightly like destiny itself weaving its storylines. Amidst barns scented with hay and bustling stables, tales were shared about this emerging champion whose narrative seemed ready to unfold like an epic tale painted against Kentucky’s bluegrass backdrop.

During those crucial years when dreams hung ripe for picking like low-hanging fruit waiting to be plucked from branches full of promise; His Eminence stood at life’s starting line—ready yet unaware of the heights awaiting him or obstacles ahead on his journey forward. From simple beginnings emerged an unrivaled force; from humble origins blossomed a flower meant not only for fleeting admiration but lasting reverence among those breathing life into racing’s beating heart—together they etched out chapters within history’s grandstands where champions roamed eternal realms forevermore.

Racing Career and Kentucky Derby Victory

In 1901, His Eminence stole the hearts of horse racing fans everywhere by winning the prestigious Kentucky Derby, a major accomplishment for any Thoroughbred. James Winkfield, an African-American jockey who challenged racial norms at that time, skillfully guided His Eminence to victory with his exceptional speed and unwavering determination. This triumph not only established His Eminence as one of the top racers but also inspired hope and progress during difficult times.

His impressive performance continued with a win in the Clark Handicap during his remarkable three-year-old season at Churchill Downs. This feat displayed His Eminence’s adaptability and endurance on various tracks and conditions—a testament to his outstanding breeding and training routine. With each powerful stride on those legendary racetracks, His Eminence cemented his place among racing greats, captivating spectators with his poise under pressure and relentless spirit.

The Kentucky Derby win not only solidified His Eminence’s reputation as a champion racer but also symbolized unity in a divided society. Through hard work and natural talent, this magnificent colt transcended barriers both on and off the track, resonating with audiences well beyond horse racing enthusiasts. As praise poured in from around the globe, it became clear that His Eminence was more than just another racehorse; he represented hope while challenging stereotypes—one thundering hoofbeat at a time—an embodiment of bravery amid challenges.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. The racing community looks up to and respects them
  2. They create a legacy that future generations will cherish
  3. Their exciting performances on the track captivate audiences
  4. Trainers, jockeys, and owners demonstrate their dedication and skill
  5. They enhance the prestige of horse racing as a sport
  6. Their achievements offer opportunities for storytelling and celebration


  1. Faces the risk of getting hurt or having to quit because racing is physically demanding
  2. Feels pressured to always perform really well
  3. Might find it hard to switch to a new job or lifestyle after racing
  4. Gets judged and criticized by fans, media, and people in the industry
  5. Needs to spend a lot of money on training, care, and competitions
  6. Could be involved in controversies or scandals that ruin their reputation

Ownership Transfers and Return to Racing

After winning the Kentucky Derby, His Eminence’s journey took a surprising turn when Clarence Mackay bought him for stud services. However, fate intervened and led to His Eminence changing owners once again. Fred Gebhard became the new owner and decided to bring His Eminence back into racing at five years old.

Making a comeback after a short break from competition, His Eminence amazed everyone by not just participating but excelling in races. One standout moment was his performance in the 1903 Omnium Handicap race where he showed incredible skill and determination against younger competitors. This proved that age didn’t hold him back – he was still an exceptional Thoroughbred.

The crowd admired His Eminence’s resilience and spirit in every post-hiatus race. Despite some critics thinking he was past his prime, he continuously silenced them with his sheer talent and unwavering determination on the racetrack.

In these later racing years following his Kentucky Derby win, fans cherished each triumph even more as they watched this seasoned champion defy expectations time and time again under Fred Gebhard’s ownership. With each powerful stride towards victory reigniting their passion ignited at Churchill Downs – spectators found themselves captivated by His Eminence’s unyielding resolve against all odds stacked before him.

Steeplechase Training and Tragic End

His Eminence, a magnificent Thoroughbred racehorse with an extraordinary but tragic story, passed through different owners before ending up in William Collins Whitney’s stables for steeplechase training. Despite the twists of fate that brought him to Whitney’s care, His Eminence displayed unparalleled potential on the track.

Under Whitney’s guidance, His Eminence evolved from a strong competitor into a graceful athlete ready to shine in the world of steeplechasing. Spectators marveled at his talent and determination as he sprinted across fields and leaped over obstacles with finesse.

Word spread quickly about his abilities within racing circles, making His Eminence a symbol of hope for those who valued perseverance and skill. With each step towards victory, he solidified his place in horse racing history with an unforgettable impact.

Sadly, tragedy struck when His Eminence met an untimely end while attempting one final hurdle—a moment that deeply affected all who had witnessed his remarkable journey in the racing community. The loss served as a poignant reminder of both vulnerability and strength embodied not only by His Eminence but also by those who shared in his dreams.

Despite meeting an early end before 1910 loomed ahead; nonetheless, His Emience’s legacy persisted beyond tragedy—his spirit forever immortalized through stories passed down among breeders about this exceptional steed whose brief presence left a lasting impression on their hearts.

Champion Stallion His Eminence’s Profile Highlights

Attribute Information
Name His Eminence
Sire Falsetto
Grandsire Enquirer
Dam Patroness
Damsire Pat Malloy
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1898
Country United States
Colour Bay
Breeder Overton H. Chenault
Owner 1) J. B. Lewman
2) Frank B. Van Meter
3) Clarence Mackay
4) Fred Gebhard
5) A.C. Jaeger
6) William Collins Whitney
Trainer Frank B. Van Meter
Record 53: 11-7-8
Earnings $16,295
Major wins Clark Handicap (1901)
Omnium Handicap (1903)
Triple Crown race wins: Kentucky Derby (1901)

Pedigree and Bloodline Heritage

His Eminence came from a famous line of racehorses like Enquirer, Lexington, Australian, and Boston through his father Falsetto and mother Patroness. This impressive family tree played a big part in his success on the racetrack. The mix of greatness passed down through generations of exceptional Thoroughbreds made up His Eminence’s background.

As he sprinted across the tracks, you could feel the history behind every strong hoofbeat. It was like listening to a powerful symphony come alive with each gallop. With every step he took, he carried the spirits of past champions within him; their legacy pushed him onward to victory after victory. It seemed as though fate had set out a path for him among the stars – guiding him along a celestial racetrack where he would leave his mark alongside those legendary ancestors who came before.

At every race, spectators didn’t just see a horse but witnessed centuries-old heritage charging towards triumph personified in His Eminence. The excitement was tangible as fans collectively held their breaths – hoping that this descendant of greatness would once again surpass expectations and add another chapter to racing history’s storybook. Each win not only meant success for His Eminence but also solidified his spot among legends old and new—a shining example highlighting how bloodlines intertwined with destiny can create magic on each stretch of turf covered by hooves faster than time itself

Sale Prices and Ownerships History

His Eminence’s journey passed through the hands of Clarence Mackay, Fred Gebhard, A.C. Jaeger, and finally William Collins Whitney like a relay race baton in a high-stakes competition.

When Clarence Mackay owned him, His Eminence began to rise to stardom as he galloped into the spotlight with grace and power just like a seasoned performer stepping onto stage for their debut.

Under Fred Gebhard’s care, His Eminence continued to impress audiences and competitors alike with his sheer determination on the track—a true embodiment of equine excellence that left many in awe.

A.C. Jaeger was another chapter in His Eminence’s tale, guiding him further along his illustrious career path akin to an artist adding intricate details to an already breathtaking masterpiece.

Finally under William Collins Whitney’s guidance, His Eminence met his tragic end during steeplechase training—an unexpected twist in what seemed like an unending saga of triumphs and accolades.

Mythical Tales and Fascinating Lore of the Derby

  1. ### Exciting Stories and Legends of the Derby
  2. **The Tale of His Eminence’s Unbeatable Speed**: In Derby folklore, they say His Eminence possessed an incredible speed that allowed him to outpace even the fastest competitors on the track. Some believe this extraordinary ability came from a divine source.
  3. **Exploring His Eminence’s Mysterious Beginnings**: There are many rumors surrounding His Eminence’s origins, with some suggesting he descended from a line of mythical horses known for their magical powers. Others whisper about him being a shape-shifting being who transformed into a magnificent horse just for the Derby.
  4. **His Connection to Other Realms**: People talk about how His Eminence had a unique bond with supernatural realms, enabling him to communicate with mystical beings and receive guidance from otherworldly entities. This connection supposedly gave him an advantage in races, helping him secure victory after victory.
  5. **The Magical Bridle Worn by His Eminence**: Legend has it that craftsmen created an enchanted bridle for His Eminence using rare materials imbued with mystical qualities. This special bridle granted him unmatched control over his movements, making it nearly impossible for others to beat him in any race he entered.
  6. **A Lasting Legacy Beyond the Kentucky Derby**: While tales of his triumphs at the Kentucky Derby are well-known, stories of His Eminence’s bold exploits and exceptional skills have transcended beyond this renowned event. These narratives continue inspiring horse enthusiasts across generations and still capture imaginations today.

Major Wins Beyond the Kentucky Derby

His Eminence didn’t just win the Kentucky Derby in 1901; he proved himself on many different racecourses. He dominated the tough Clark Handicap and Omnium Handicap, showing everyone that he was a versatile champion hungry for victory. These wins revealed His Eminence’s talent and adaptability across various racing tracks, proving he wasn’t just a one-time star at Churchill Downs but a true powerhouse on any course.

In the thrilling Clark Handicap, His Eminence showed his grit and brilliance as he outpaced his rivals with speed and stamina. This victory highlighted his ability to perform under pressure and shine when competing against tough opponents all fighting for first place. Fans were electrified by the excitement of witnessing history being made right before their eyes—a clear sign of His Eminence’s unbeatable spirit and determination to succeed.

At the prestigious Omnium Handicap event, His Eminence once again wowed spectators with his incredible skills, leaving no doubt about his status as an elite Thoroughbred athlete. Here, he solidified his legacy by surpassing competitors through sheer determination while securing a spot among horse racing legends. Winning beyond just the Kentucky Derby propelled His Eminence into an exclusive group of champions known for their versatility, resilience, and unparalleled abilities on different terrains—an enduring testament to how he left his mark on Thoroughbred racing history forever.

Legacy in Thoroughbred Racing History

In 1901, His Eminence’s win at the famous Kentucky Derby was a remarkable moment in horse racing history. It highlighted his incredible talent and James Winkfield’s skill. The victory wasn’t just a win; it showed resilience and strength, especially since Winkfield was one of the few African-American jockeys back then. Together, they broke barriers with grace and excellence.

His Eminence didn’t just make waves on the racetrack; he also had a big impact on breeding practices in the industry. Breeders sought after his impressive lineage for generations to come, wanting to replicate his speed, stamina, and competitive drive in future champions. Through careful selection and smart pairings, His Eminence’s genetic legacy continued to influence pedigrees worldwide.

Despite facing early setbacks from injuries that affected his success on the track long-term, His Eminence never gave up throughout his career. Every race he competed in showcased not only athleticism but also an unbreakable spirit that captivated audiences then and still inspires fans today through stories passed down over time.

More than just another fast horse or temporary champion—His Eminence embodied true competition spirit: striving for greatness against all odds. He left behind a lasting legacy deeply embedded in racing history forevermore.

In many ways, His Eminence symbolizes more than just a racehorse; he represents perseverance personified—a guiding light for those pushing past obstacles towards their dreams. Though tragedy ended his life prematurely, his impact remains as a reminder that real greatness isn’t solely about victories won but about touching hearts along the way—a timeless lesson echoed throughout Thoroughbred racing circles.

Contributions to Breeding Industry

His Eminence’s impact went far beyond the racetrack, making a lasting impression on the horse breeding industry. After winning the Kentucky Derby, he became a popular choice among breeders looking to improve their bloodlines. His strong lineage and successful racing history made him an appealing option for those wanting to enhance the quality of their horses.

The foals born from His Eminence displayed remarkable speed, endurance, and elegance – traits that were consistently passed down through generations. Breeders were amazed by how reliably these characteristics were inherited by his offspring, solidifying his reputation as a top sire in Thoroughbred breeding circles.

Throughout retirement and occasional comebacks to racing under different owners, His Eminence continued to captivate fans and industry experts alike. His ability to excel both on the track and as a stallion highlighted not just his physical abilities but also his versatility – qualities that set him apart from others in the field.

With each new generation inheriting traces of His Eminence’s exceptional talent and genetic strengths, he left a significant mark on Thoroughbred breeding that still resonates today as evidence of his enduring influence on future champions yet unborn.


1. What were some of the key victories that defined His Eminence’s racing career?

In 1921, His Eminence scored major wins at the renowned Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Lawrence Realization Stakes. These victories established him as a celebrated champion in the exciting world of Thoroughbred racing.

2. How did His Eminence’s performance in the Kentucky Derby shape his legacy in Thoroughbred racing?

His Excellency’s impressive second-place performance in the Kentucky Derby secured his spot in Thoroughbred racing history, displaying his remarkable skill and grit on one of the sport’s biggest platforms.

3. What distinguished His Eminence from other champion racehorses of his time?

His Eminence was not just another fast and agile racehorse during his time. He also stood out for being an exceptional father, passing on his top-notch genes to the next line of champion Thoroughbreds.

4. How did His Eminence’s tragic end impact the racing community and his fans?

The racing community and fans were deeply saddened by His Eminence’s tragic passing, which left a void in the hearts of those who admired his incredible talent and spirit on the racetrack.

5. What contributions did His Eminence make to the breeding industry following his retirement from racing?

The esteemed stallion fathered many talented foals that excelled in horse racing, leaving a lasting mark as a respected sire in the history of Thoroughbreds.

6. How has His Eminence been remembered and honored in the annals of Thoroughbred racing history?

His Eminence made a lasting mark in the world of Thoroughbred racing with his incredible performance on the track, untimely death, and ongoing impact as a legendary racehorse whose lineage still shapes the sport today.