Standardbred pacer Won The West will be welcomed to the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions on Saturday, October 6. This Two-Time Divisional and Breeders Crown Champion was retired in September as a leader in Standardbred racing with lifetime earnings of $3,939,836.
In honor of the horse’s arrival at the park, Mayor Jim Gray has declared October 6 “Won The West Day” in Lexington, KY, and his office has prepared a certificate that will be presented to the owners on Saturday.
Won The West made 109 lifetime starts in his career with 36 firsts, 24 seconds and 15 thirds. In 2009, he won the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record time of 1:47, and he won the same race again in 2010. This 8-year-old gelding was voted Older Pacer of the Year in 2009 and 2010 by the U.S. Harness Writers, and was twice awarded the Dan Patch trophy as top older pacing horse.
“The Kentucky Horse Park is honored to have Won The West join our Hall of Champions,” said John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “This exceptional horse is a star for the Standardbred industry, and we look forward to sharing him and his story with the throngs of visitors who enjoy the park each year. He will be a welcome addition to our champion line-up, and we thank his connections for entrusting his care to our team.”
Won The West was bred in New Jersey by Fair Winds Farm by Western Hanover out of Gabrielle by Dragon’s Lair, he was foaled in 2004. Won The West was purchased for $35,000 by trainer Brian Brown at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Brown purchased the colt for James Koehler’s Country Club Acres, Inc. of Findlay, Ohio; the Kantzer family’s Strollin Stable of Marion, Ohio; and, William Robinson of Findlay, Ohio.
With trainer Ron Burke added to the team in 2007, Won The West went on to be one of the highest-earning horses on the Standardbred racing circuit, beating some of the biggest names in racing such as Mister Big and winning the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Indiana Pacing Derby, the Bobby Quillin Memorial and the Dan Patch Invitational, as well as three American national stakes titles.
Won The West joins fellow Standardbred pacing champions Staying Together and Western Dreamer, and Standardbred trotting champion Mr. Muscleman, at the Hall of Champions.
The public is invited to welcome him to Kentucky at the Hall of Champions at the Won The West Welcome Ceremony at 10:00 am on Saturday, October 6. The welcome ceremony is open to the public, or guests may choose to stay and visit the rest of the park with regular visitor admission ($16 for adults, $8 for children 7-12, no charge for children 6 and under in the party).
The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man's relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and hosted more than 825,000 visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 200 special events and horse shows in 2011. The park is home to the National Horse Center which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations. Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses. Open daily March 15 to Nov. 4, and Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 5 to March 15.
MEDIA ALERTContact Cindy Rullman859-259-4209
WHO: John and Elizabeth Fort of Peachtree Racing Stable, Inc. and the Kentucky Horse Park
WHAT: Memorial service for Kentucky Derby contender and stallion Invisible Ink
WHEN: Friday, September 16, 2011, at 11am
WHERE: Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of ChampionsWHY: Invisible Ink was not the type of horse who would normally be buried at the Hall of Champions alongside some of the greatest of the racing industry’s stars. However, the Kentucky Horse Park agreed with his owners, John and Elizabeth Fort, that Invisible Ink earned a place there, to stand as a permanent reminder that the heart of a champion beats in every horse, regardless of breed, discipline, or success on the racetrack or in the show ring. All a horse needs is someone to believe in him. Beautifully bred Invisible Ink (Thunder Gulch-Conquistress, by Conquistador Cielo) stole the hearts of many who don’t normally follow Thoroughbred racing by winning a much-publicized battle against a life-threatening illness as a 2-year-old, thanks to the valiant efforts of his owners and a team of people who wouldn’t give up on him. He went on to earn the respect of the Thoroughbred industry when he came back from that illness to place second in the Kentucky Derby (G1). His career earnings were $465,088. While John Fort admits that Invisible Ink may not have been an outstanding racehorse, he “has been a very special horse to us and to literally thousands of other people across the nation. I know because I have received their e-mails and phone calls. You're lucky in this business to come across a horse like Invisible Ink." Even Paul Harvey told Invisible Ink’s story on is radio broadcast.Invisible Ink died in Pennsylvania on July 7. He will be buried at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions this week and remembered in a public memorial service. Read more about Invisible Ink’s story in a beautiful tribute by Steve Haskin: http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-racing-steve-haskin/archive/2011/07/07/the-loss-of-a-thoroughbred.aspx
HOW: Media availability with John and Elizabeth Fort and John Nicholson. Members of the media should park in the main parking lot at the Visitor Center. Golf cart shuttles will be available from there to the Hall of Champions beginning at 10:30am. The public is invited to attend.
Editor's note: Photos of Invisible Ink are available for use by the media by emailing
This is Lovey, the official Barn Cat, official Greeter and Official Mouser of the Hall of Champions. Watch this exciting video of her performing her duties this morning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsa0ebPWmLE then come out to meet her and her equine companions Funny Cide, Go for Gin, Cigar, Da Hoss, Be a Bono, Staying Together, Western Dreamer and Mr. Muscleman. Photo by Steve Faust.
NEWS RELEASEContact: Cindy Rullman859-259-4209
Kentucky Derby Winner Go for Gin Retires to Kentucky Horse Park
LEXINGTON, KY (August 11, 2011) Go for Gin, the 1994 winner of the Kentucky Derby (G1), has arrived in Lexington, Kentucky, to make his home in the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions alongside fellow Derby winner Funny Cide, two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Da Hoss, and racing superstar Cigar.
John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park, said, "Go for Gin will make another great addition to our Hall of Champions. We entertain nearly 1 million visitors each year and they will be delighted to have the opportunity to meet a horse of his caliber, who performed so well in all three Triple Crown races."
Go for Gin was bred in Kentucky by Pamela DuPont Darmstadt, owned by William J. Condren and Joseph M. Cornacchia, and trained by Nick Zito. As a 2-year-old, the son of Cormorant-Never Knock, by Stage Door Johnny won the Remsen S (G2). At 3, he was one of the few racehorses to beat the mighty Holy Bull, which he did in winning the Derby. He followed that win with a second in the Preakness S (G1) to Tabasco Cat and second in the Belmont S (G1), also to Tabasco Cat. That same year he also came up just short in the Wood Memorial (G1) and Fountain of Youth S (G2) for second.
In all, from ages 2 to 4, Go for Gin was in the money in 14 out of 19 starts with earnings of $1,380,866.
He took up stud duty at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, and was later sold to Bonita Farm in Maryland, where he has been standing since 2004. His progeny have earned more than $16.5 million and include Albert the Great, winner of more than $3 million.
William Boniface, owner of Bonita Farm, stated, "On behalf of our very dear friend and partner Joe Cornacchia, Bonita Farm is appreciative that the Kentucky Horse Park has accepted our donation of the Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin. I feel that their work providing for and displaying to the public the Top Thoroughbreds is very beneficial to our sport."
John Nicholson concluded, "We’re glad that his connections chose to allow Go for Gin to spend the rest of his days at the Kentucky Horse Park, where he will continue to be respected, appreciated and well cared-for."
The public is invited to welcome him back home to Kentucky.
Park Hours and Rates: Through November 6, the park is open seven days a week. Admission is $16 for adults, $9 for children 7-12. Children six and under are always admitted free of charge. Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse – In Association with the Smithsonian Institution - and the American Saddlebred Museum.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A high-resolution photo of Go For Gin at the Kentucky Horse Park is available for use with this press release by emailing
The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet that hosted more than one million visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows in 2010. The park is home to the National Horse Center which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations. Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses. Open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.
Tolley Graves, American Saddlebred Museum 859-259-2746 ext 304
WGC CHWILD-EYED & WICKED BRONZE AND COURTYARD DEDICATED
LEXINGTON, KY - At 11:30 a.m. on July 16, 2011, Sally and Joe Jackson hosted the unveiling and dedication of the WGC CHWild-Eyed & Wicked bronze and courtyard seating area at the American Saddlebred Museum.
The ½-life size bronze portrays the two-time World’s Grand Champion Five-Gaited horse at the rack and was sculpted by his owner Sally McClure Jackson. A noted artist, Jackson’s works are in the collections of the United States Equestrian Federation, the Kentucky Horse Park, and Lord Westmorland of London, England, among others.
A crowd gathered to hear Museum Executive Director Tolley Graves give a brief explanation of the origin of the Museum’s sculpture Garden and thank the Jacksons for their generous donation of not only the magnificent sculpture but also the beautifully designed courtyard seating area. Located to the left of the main entrance to the Showplace For Saddlebreds, the bronze serves as a focal point, drawing visitors from within the Horse Park to the Museum. Signage affixed to the base of the bronze gives a brief Saddlebred history along with an explanation of the breed’s gaits. The multi world’s champion gelding was also a two-time winner of the American Saddlebred Triple Crown among other awards throughout his stellar show career. CHWild-Eyed & Wicked is buried outside the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions.
The museum is open daily from 9-6. For more information contact museum curator Kim Skipton at 859/259-2746 or
Photo (top) by Kentucky Images. Photo (bottom) sculptor Sally McClure Jackson with her sculpture courtesy of American Saddlebred Museum..