By Mint Julep

Spend A Buck Before and Beyond the Kentucky Derby

spend a buck kentucky derby winner 1985

Explore Spend A Buck’s fascinating journey from his early days in Kentucky to his bold choice of skipping the Preakness and Belmont Stakes after clinching victory at the Kentucky Derby. Dive into his impressive racing career, highlighted by wins in prestigious races like the Jersey Derby and Garden State Stakes, which led to him being honored as U.S. Champion 3-Year-Old Colt and Horse of the Year. Uncover Spend A Buck’s lasting impact through a successful stud career, global influence, and tragic passing that left an indelible mark on American horse racing history.

Early Life and Family Background

Spend A Buck was born on May 15, 1982 in Daviess County, Kentucky. His father was Buckaroo and his mother Belle de Jour. He came from a long line of champion horses, including ancestors like Prince Rose and Man o’ War.

His family history hinted at his potential for greatness right from the start – with relatives known for their speed and stamina on the racetrack. This rich heritage set the stage for Spend A Buck’s incredible racing career that would capture fans around the world.

Growing up in beautiful Kentucky horse country, surrounded by rolling hills and lush pastures, Spend A Buck absorbed all things equine early on. He spent his formative years honing his skills and building strength under expert care to prepare him for future challenges on the track.

Irish Hill Farm played a crucial role in shaping Spend A Buck into a strong competitor. From playful foal to sleek racehorse-in-training, every step of his development was carefully guided towards reaching his full racing potential.

As he raced across those bluegrass fields with grace and determination, little did anyone know that this spirited colt would one day make history at prestigious races like the Kentucky Derby – securing himself a place among American horse racing legends.

Racing Career Highlights

Spend A Buck had an impressive racing career filled with exciting wins, triumphing in well-known events such as the Arlington-Washington Futurity Stakes, Cherry Hill Mile Stakes, and Jersey Derby. His biggest accomplishment came at the prestigious Kentucky Derby in 1985 when he made history by beating top competitors to win the sought-after title.

In a surprising move that caught everyone’s attention in the racing world, Spend A Buck decided not to race in both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Instead of going after Triple Crown glory like most top racers would do, he focused on a big bonus waiting for him at Garden State Park. This bold choice showed his adventurous spirit and willingness to take a unique path towards success.

By prioritizing financial gain over traditional fame during his races, Spend A Buck established himself as a trendsetter among horse athletes. His calculated risk paid off when he excelled in the Garden State Stakes and other important races, leaving behind a legacy that went beyond what was expected within horse racing lore.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Inspiring future generations of racehorses

  2. Showcasing the rich history and tradition of horse racing

  3. Providing entertainment and excitement for fans

  4. Creating opportunities for economic growth in the industry

  5. Preserving the legacy of legendary horses


  1. Horses and jockeys face risks of getting hurt during races

  2. People might exploit horses for making money

  3. Trainers and owners may feel pressured to make horses do more than they can handle

  4. Some people argue about doping and bad practices in horse racing

  5. Most racehorses have short careers

Notable Achievements and Awards

In 1985, Spend A Buck received recognition for his outstanding talent. He won the prestigious titles of U.S. Champion 3-Year-Old Colt and United States Horse of the Year, proving himself as a top performer among his peers.

These awards were not just tokens – they were solid proof of Spend A Buck’s incredible abilities on the racetrack that amazed spectators every time he raced.

His thrilling performances and unwavering determination made him stand out from the competition, earning him admiration from racing fans all over the world.

The year 1985 was truly special for Spend A Buck, showcasing his explosive speed and impeccable racing skills that led to numerous victories.

With these well-deserved accolades, Spend A Buck became an iconic figure in American horse racing history, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to remember.

Legacy and Honors

Spend A Buck’s legacy shines brightly in the world of horse racing. His retirement honors show how amazing his career was on the track. In 1995, they put him into the famous Calder Race Course Hall of Fame to show he was one of the best in the sport. Also, there are races named after him that celebrate his big impact and great achievements. The Spend a Buck Stakes at Monmouth Park and the Spend a Buck Handicap at Calder Race Course honor this awesome athlete who won over fans with his speed and spirit.

These awards remind us all about how awesome Spend A Buck was when he raced. The respect shown through these honors is not just because he won the Kentucky Derby but also for being excellent throughout his whole career. Having stakes races named after you is really special – it shows how important Spend A Buck is to horse racing history. Every time horses race in events honoring him, they remember his legacy left behind for future generations.

The memory of Spend A Buck’s greatness goes way beyond numbers or winning races; it shows a spirit that lasts forever no matter what time it is. When people come together to watch things like the Spend a Buck Stakes or Handicap, they aren’t just watching another race – they’re part of honoring one of horse racing’s most unforgettable champs alive today! His influence keeps inspiring awe and love from both old fans and new ones too, proving that true greatness never fades away.

With every beat heard during races called ‘Spend a Buck,’ there tells an exciting story filled with courage, willpower, and fierce passion for winning even when things look tough. These honors given to him after retiring light up an amazing journey full of victories written into horseracing history forevermore.

Spend A Buck: Racing Legend Highlights

Attribute Information
Name Spend A Buck
Sire Buckaroo
Grandsire Buckpasser
Dam Belle de Jour
Damsire Speak John
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1982
Country United States
Color Brown
Breeder C. Rowe Harper, Irish Hill Farm
Owner Hunter Farm (Dennis Diaz)
Trainer Cam Gambolati
Record 15: 10–3–2
Earnings $4,220,689
Major wins Arlington-Washington Futurity Stakes (1984)
Cherry Hill Mile Stakes (1985)
Garden State Stakes (1985)
Jersey Derby (1985)
Monmouth Handicap (1985)
U.S. Triple Crown series: Kentucky Derby (1985)
Awards U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1985)
United States Horse of the Year (1985)
Honors Calder Race Course Hall of Fame (1995)
Spend a Buck Stakes at Monmouth Park
Spend a Buck Handicap at Calder Race Course

Stud Career and Offspring

Spend A Buck was a powerful force in the breeding world, passing on his incredible speed and stamina to his offspring. His kids were stars on the racetrack, producing 27 winners of prestigious races during his time as a stud. The total earnings from his descendants exceeded $16 million, showcasing the lasting impact he had on horse racing.

Many breeders sought out Spend A Buck’s bloodlines for their winning combination of talent and determination. His influence went beyond just numbers; it showed in the success stories written by his children across various big races. He played a crucial role in shaping future generations of racehorses, earning him a reputation as a top sire.

Through smart pairings and careful planning, Spend A Buck continued to make waves in breeding long after retiring from racing. Breeders valued not only his impressive family tree but also the spirit and toughness that made him an outstanding racehorse—a trait passed down through each generation he sired. His genetic contributions echoed around pedigrees worldwide, leaving an unforgettable mark on Thoroughbred breeding for years to come.

Over time, Spend A Buck became synonymous with excellence both on the track and as a sire. His offspring carried forward not only physical traits but also intangible qualities that set them apart from others in their league. The tale of Spend A Buck’s stud career is one filled with triumphs and legacies woven into horse racing history—a story that continues through every new champion descended from this remarkable stallion.”

Track Records and Milestones

In 1985, Spend A Buck amazed everyone by setting a track record of 146.80 for a mile and an eighth during the Monmouth Handicap (now called the Philip H. Iselin Stakes). This showcased his incredible speed and endurance on the racetrack.

This outstanding performance made Spend A Buck stand out as a strong competitor, impressing spectators with his amazing talent and determination to excel in horse racing.

What set him apart was his exceptional ability to maintain high speeds over long distances, earning him respect from fans and fellow competitors.

By breaking this record, Spend A Buck not only made history but also demonstrated his natural skill and determination that defined him as a true champion in every way possible.

Legendary Tales of Spend A Buck's Racing Legacy

  1. Legendary Stories of Spend A Buck's Impactful Racing Career:

  2. Spend A Buck Breaks Tradition in the Triple Crown: Back in 1985, all eyes were on Spend A Buck when he decided to shake things up by skipping the Preakness Stakes after winning the Kentucky Derby. Instead, he chose to race and triumph at the Jersey Derby (now known as the Haskell Invitational), causing quite a stir in the racing community.

  3. Smashing Records at Churchill Downs: In 1985, Spend A Buck left his mark by setting a new track record at Churchill Downs during his impressive victory at the Kentucky Derby. Under jockey Angel Cordero Jr., he blazed through to win by an astonishing 5 1/4 lengths with a time of 2:20, holding onto that title until Monarchos broke it in

  4. Winning Big with a $2 Million Bonus: By opting out of competing in the Preakness and aiming for victory at the Jersey Derby instead, Spend A Buck's team had their sights set on claiming a hefty $2 million bonus if they emerged victorious post-Kentucky Derby. Their bold move paid off handsomely, securing Spend A Buck's place among racing legends.

  5. Reigning Champion Colt and Eclipse Award Holder: The year was 1985 when our equine hero earned recognition as both Champion Three-Year-Old Colt and received high honors with an Eclipse Award for Outstanding Three-Year-Old Male Horse due to his stellar performances on tracks nationwide – establishing himself as one of that era’s premier horses.

  6. 5 . Beyond Track Triumphs: Wrapping up his career with an enviable record boasting 15 wins from just over twenty starts and earnings exceeding $2 million; retirement saw him transition into successful breeding endeavors where his offspring continued making waves within Thoroughbred circles — cementing Spend A Buck’s status not only as a gifted athlete but also leaving behind an enduring legacy felt throughout horseracing history.

Eclipse Award Recognition

Spend A Buck’s impressive wins at the Kentucky Derby and other prestigious races in 1985 made him a standout in American horse racing. His bold front-running tactics surprised many, showing his fearless determination to always finish first.

Winning both the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year-Old Colt title solidified Spend A Buck as a powerhouse on the track. Fans and experts were amazed by his natural talent and never-give-up attitude that shone through in every race he ran.

Not content with just one victory, Spend A Buck went on to conquer races like the Garden State Stakes and Monmouth Handicap, further establishing himself as an exceptional racehorse with unmatched drive.

His ability to dominate on different types of tracks set him apart from his competitors, earning admiration from fans and industry insiders alike. Whenever he raced, Spend A Buck showcased versatility and adaptability that made him a formidable opponent.

Despite facing challenges such as controversial decisions about which races to enter, Spend A Buck remained focused on reaching new heights. His resilience under pressure demonstrated true sportsmanship and solidified his place among American horse racing legends.

International Influence

Spend A Buck made a huge impact on horse racing worldwide, as his amazing career grabbed the attention of fans all over the globe. He raced mainly in America and showed how good he was by winning big races like the Kentucky Derby and Garden State Stakes, proving that he was among the best in the world.

His exciting performances not only got him praise in America but also earned him respect from fans and experts everywhere. Spend A Buck’s ability to handle different track conditions and race styles made him a tough competitor wherever he ran, leaving audiences amazed every time.

More than just winning races, Spend A Buck left an international legacy through his offspring after retiring as a successful stallion. His children continued his tradition of excellence on racetracks globally, inheriting his speed, stamina, and competitive spirit—a true testament to his lasting impact on future generations of racehorses.

While Spend A Buck might not have raced much outside America during his career, his influence on global horse racing is undeniable. His name still resonates through history books and pedigree charts as a symbol of resilience and victory against all odds—a real champion whose legacy will never be forgotten.

Tragic Passing and Enduring Impact

The horse racing world was stunned by the sudden death of Spend A Buck in Brazil on November 24, 2002. He tragically passed away due to a severe allergic reaction to penicillin. Spend A Buck’s unexpected departure ended his impressive career prematurely, leaving a lasting impact on the sport.

Known for his daring moves and lightning-fast speed on the racetrack, Spend A Buck’s influence extended far beyond his retirement from racing. His triumph as a Kentucky Derby victor and champion racehorse cemented his place in history, motivating upcoming generations of horses.

Even though he left this world too soon, Spend A Buck’s legacy crossed borders as his bloodline spread through international breeding programs. Through his descendants’ achievements, he continues to shape modern horse racing worldwide.

Fans and industry professionals were deeply saddened by the loss of Spend A Buck. Though gone too early, memories of thrilling victories and shattered records keep alive the spirit of one of horse racing’s brightest stars – proving that some legacies are truly timeless.

Pedigree Analysis

Spend A Buck came from a long line of impressive ancestors such as Prince John, a successful sire known for passing on speed and stamina to his offspring. He inherited the blood of Tom Fool, which gave him intelligence and agility on the track. Traits from No Robbery also played a role in shaping Spend A Buck’s racing style by adding tenacity, ultimately giving him the competitive edge needed to dominate races.

The influence of Jaipur in Spend A Buck’s pedigree contributed finesse and gracefulness, making him not just strong but also graceful—a rare combination in horse racing. These genetic gifts from his ancestors created a powerful mix that propelled Spend A Buck into greatness at an early age, setting the stage for his rapid rise in the sport.

The blending of these diverse gene pools formed a unique combination in Spend A Buck that distinguished him from other contenders on the racetrack. It was this rich tapestry of ancestry that sculpted an equine athlete destined for stardom—a true example of nature’s artistry at its best.

As buyers flocking to auctions search for horses with pedigrees resembling masterpieces hanging in renowned galleries—each lineage representing legendary ancestors—it becomes evident why Spend A Buck stood out; he wasn’t merely another painting but rather a living masterpiece born from generations etched into his DNA.

With every thunderous stride across finish lines and each triumphant win guided by jockey Angel Cordero Jr., it became clear how previous generations influenced every victory lap taken by Spend A Buck. Leaving hoofprints not only on tracks around America but also within horse racing history itself—an indelible mark forged by genetics along with determination and perseverance.


1. What made Spend A Buck's victory in the Kentucky Derby so remarkable?

Spend A Buck made history by winning the Kentucky Derby with a record-breaking pace. He led from start to finish and decided to skip the Preakness Stakes in favor of competing in the Jersey Derby, where he bagged $2 million. This move highlighted his incredible talent and smart racing strategy.

2. How did Spend A Buck's decision to skip the Preakness Stakes impact his legacy?

By choosing not to compete in the Preakness Stakes, Spend A Buck was able to win the $2 million Jersey Derby bonus. This bold move highlighted his smart racing tactics and financial gains, shaping his reputation as a distinct and strategic competitor in horse racing.

3. What prestigious awards did Spend A Buck receive during his racing career?

In 1985, Spend A Buck won the Eclipse Award for being the best American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse and was also honored as the top New Jersey-bred Horse of the Year.

4. How successful was Spend A Buck as a stallion after retiring from racing?

After retiring from racing, Spend A Buck became a top stallion who fathered many champion horses and made a big mark on the breeding world.

5. What international influence did Spend A Buck have on the world of horse racing?

Spend A Buck showed his global impact on horse racing when he won the 1985 Kentucky Derby. This victory encouraged other owners and trainers to think outside the box with race strategies and aim for top races worldwide.

6. What tragic event marked the end of Spend A Buck's legendary journey in American horse racing history?

Spend A Buck's incredible legacy in American horse racing came to a sad conclusion when he passed away unexpectedly from colic in 2002.