By Mint Julep

Strike the Gold Before and Beyond the Kentucky Derby

kentucky derby winner 1991 strike the gold

Discover the incredible journey of Strike the Gold, from his tough start as a “dummy foal” at Calumet Farm to his amazing win in the 1991 Kentucky Derby. Follow along as he shows resilience and competitive spirit in races like the Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes, facing both victories and setbacks on the track. Learn about how changes in ownership influenced his career after winning the Derby, leading to impressive wins in prestigious races such as the Nassau County Handicap and Pimlico Special. See how he transitioned into a stud career at Vinery and left behind a lasting legacy in Thoroughbred horse racing history, demonstrating perseverance through challenges.

Early Life and Family Background

Strike the Gold was born on March 21, 1988, at Calumet Farm in the United States. He faced a tough start to life as a “dummy foal,” needing oxygen support due to lack of oxygen during birth. Sadly, his mother Majestic Gold passed away from colic when he was just four months old, leaving him orphaned. Despite these early challenges, Strike the Gold went on to become a well-known American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse.

Skilled handlers raised and nurtured him with care and dedication despite setbacks early on. Even as a fragile dummy foal, his spirit shone through – hinting at what lay ahead in his racing career; showing resilience beyond belief. Losing his mother so young could have extinguished any spark within him but instead ignited an unbreakable determination that would exceed everyone’s expectations. Although starting out with uncertainty, he emerged stronger than ever – proving that adversity can often fuel greatness.

From being a struggling newborn to becoming a promising racehorse captured hearts and imaginations alike—his story deeply resonates with all who hear it; reminding us that strength is sometimes found where we least expect it. With every stride down the track, not only did he carry himself but also the hopes and dreams of those who believed in him against all odds—a true testament to how one horse can inspire generations long after they’ve stopped racing down the stretch.

The legacy left by Strike the Gold goes far beyond racetracks or record books—it lives on through every descendant bearing some of his fiery spirit; leaving an indelible mark etched into bloodlines perpetuating excellence year after year. Though just one among many horses, his impact echoes throughout time—an enduring reminder that champions are forged not only by winning races but also through sheer willpower and unwavering resolve amid life’s toughest challenges.

Racing Career Debut

At just three years old, Strike the Gold entered races like the Florida Derby, where he came in second behind Fly So Free. He then went on to win the Blue Grass Stakes shortly after. However, it was his big moment at the 1991 Kentucky Derby that truly set him apart. There, he emerged victorious against top contenders such as Hansel and Best Pal.

Despite facing tough competition in races following his Derby triumph like the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, Strike the Gold never backed down. His determination and competitive spirit shone through during every race of his career.

The Kentucky Derby victory at Churchill Downs made Strike the Gold a name to remember in racing history books. Jockey Chris Antley’s skillful guidance led them to an unforgettable win that left fans amazed by their performance on that memorable day.

Through both highs and lows in his racing journey, Strike the Gold’s story reflects life itself – full of surprises and challenges along with moments of triumph and defeat. Each race served as a chapter highlighting passion, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to achieving greatness.

More than just wins on a racetrack, Strike the Gold’s legacy stands as a testament to bravery in adversity – an inspiration for anyone striving to break free from limitations imposed by others or themselves.

The Pros & Cons of Strike the Gold


  1. He won the Kentucky Derby in

  2. He fathered several horses that went on to win top races.

  3. People admired his speed and endurance.

  4. His children continue to achieve great success with lasting impacts.


  1. He didn't achieve as much success as other Kentucky Derby winners when he became a stallion.

  2. His racing career was short after winning the Derby.

  3. Some critics say that his impact on breeding has decreased over time.

  4. His offspring may not always get his winning abilities.

Ownership Changes and Notable Wins

When BCC Stable purchased Strike the Gold from Calumet Farm for $500,000 due to financial problems, it was just the beginning of a series of ownership changes. William J. Condren and Joseph M. Cornacchia later bought him for $2.9 million in May 1992.

After these transfers, Strike the Gold went on to win big races like the Nassau County Handicap and Pimlico Special, proving his talent and versatility on various tracks.

His success under new owners highlighted his toughness and competitive nature on the racetrack. Each victory showed that Strike the Gold was a strong contender who could tackle challenges both during races and in everyday life.

The shifts in ownership didn’t slow down Strike the Gold’s progress; if anything, they motivated him to strive for greatness every time he raced. His wins under different owners only added to his reputation as a versatile champion who could overcome any obstacle in Thoroughbred horse racing circles with ease.

Stud Career Transition

After retiring from racing in the middle of 1993, Strike the Gold started a new career as a stud at Ben P. Walden Jr.’s Vinery in Midway, Kentucky. Even though he was great on the racetrack, Strike the Gold had trouble producing successful offspring that could match his own achievements. His stud fee dropped to $15,000 by 1997, causing uncertainty about his future as a breeding stallion.

With limited opportunities in North America, Strike the Gold was sold to Turkey’s Jockey Club for breeding purposes. This unexpected change sent him to a foreign land and opened up a whole new chapter for him. In this unfamiliar place, one of his foals named Sabirli became famous as an outstanding racer, setting records in Turkish sprint and mile races.

The transition from winning the Kentucky Derby to international breeding ventures highlighted both horse racing’s resilience and unpredictability. Although Strike the Gold didn’t have huge success through his descendants in America, his legacy lived on through exceptional horses like Sabirli who continued his competitive spirit on tracks worldwide.

Golden Achievements of Strike The Gold

Attribute Information
Name Strike The Gold
Sire Alydar
Grandsire Raise a Native
Dam Majestic Gold
Damsire Hatchet Man
Sex Stallion
Foaled 21 March 1988
Died December 13, 2011
Country United States
Colour Chestnut
Breeder Calumet Farm
Owner BCC Stable
Trainer Nick Zito
Record 31: 6-8-5
Earnings $3,457,026
Major wins Blue Grass Stakes (1991), Nassau County Handicap (1992), Pimlico Special (1992), Kentucky Derby (1991)

Legacy and Lasting Impact

Strike the Gold won the Kentucky Derby in 1991 and showed incredible determination on the racetrack. Even after retiring, he faced challenges with breeding and ownership changes. But his legacy lives on through his offspring who inherited his competitive spirit.

Despite struggles as a stallion, Strike the Gold’s impact in horse racing remained strong. His story of starting from scratch and achieving greatness inspires many in the racing world.

As time passed, Strike the Gold stayed close to people’s hearts within the racing community. His journey from humble beginnings to big wins not only highlighted talent but also showcased unwavering determination that left a lasting impression on those following his footsteps.


1. What were some of Strike the Gold's most memorable victories during his racing career?

Strike the Gold had some big wins in his racing days. He won the Kentucky Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, and Preakness Stakes in 1991.

2. How did Strike the Gold's Kentucky Derby win in 1991 impact his legacy in the world of Thoroughbred horse racing?

In 1991, Strike the Gold won the Kentucky Derby and proved he was a top Thoroughbred horse racer. This victory highlighted his amazing skills and established him as a legendary champion in the sport's history.

3. What challenges did Strike the Gold face during his transition from a racehorse to a breeding stallion?

Strike the Gold overcame several changes in ownership and breeding difficulties but ultimately succeeded as a top breeding stallion, making a lasting impact on the Thoroughbred horse racing industry.

4. How has Strike the Gold's bloodline influenced subsequent generations of racehorses?

The bloodline of Strike the Gold continues to influence future generations of racehorses as his descendants excel on the track and pass down his exceptional racing genes.

5. Who were some notable owners and trainers associated with Strike the Gold throughout his career?

Strike the Gold stood out in his career as he belonged to BCC Stable and was trained by Nick Zito, who nurtured his skills on the racetrack.

6. What are some key moments that highlight Strike the Gold's competitive spirit and resilience on the racetrack?

Strike the Gold showed his competitive spirit and resilience on the racetrack during key moments. One of these moments was when he won the 1991 Kentucky Derby, overcoming challenges to defeat strong competitors. Another memorable display of his determination and grit was in the Blue Grass Stakes, where he put on a tenacious performance as a racehorse.