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infield of the Latonia Racetrack

Horse Racing Stories

The Cincinnati Trophy Stakes is Horse Racing History worth Remembering

Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

By: Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

I see that the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes was run recently.  The 1-mile Cincinnati Trophy Stakes has a purse of $150,000, is not graded, and is on the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks.”  But believe it or not, this race has quite a history.



2022 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes

The race is a historical race even though it does not have a Wikipedia entry.  Always a sprint race, it was first run 120 years in 1903!  It was first run at Latonia Park, and then altered between Latonia Park and Turfway Park.

The gorgeous infield of the Latonia Racetrack

infield of the Latonia Racetrack

The first winner of the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes was PARIS  (USA) b. H, 1901 {12-c}, a son of the Commoner, in the Hermit sire line.  In 1905, SIR HUON   (USA) b. H, 1903 {5-g} came in second and was to win the following year’s Latonia Derby and Kentucky Derby.  According to American Classic Pedigrees, Sir Huon was “the last of three Kentucky Derby winners sired by Falsetto.” Only four sires can claim three Kentucky Derby winners. (The other three were Bull Lea, Sir Gallad, and Virgil.)

In the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes of 1909, a “gelding” named DONAU (USA) b. G, 1907 {4-r} was third, who was to win the 1910 Kentucky Derby.  Pedigree query notes, “Started 41 times as a two year old. Donau had a fiery temper that only worsened to a point where he would lie down on the track if prompted too harshly. Gelded at the end of his three-year old season but still retained his fiery temper. Retired in Dec 1912 and was being trained for steeplechasing, but died suddenly at Nashville in February 1913 during an epidemic of sickness in the Gerst stable.”  I find it hard to believe a horse started 41 times as a two-year-old, but there you have it. Wikipedia repeats the 41 two-year-old starts claim, so it is probably true.

Donau–I believe after his Kentucky Derby win.

The Hall of Fame gelding OLD ROSEBUD (USA) b. G, 1911 {6-a} won the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes at 2 and the Kentucky Derby at 3. Incidentally, it has been said “Vagrant (1876), Apollo (1882), Macbeth II (1888), Old Rosebud (1914), Exterminator (1918), Paul Jones (1920), Clyde Van Dusen (1929), Funny Cide (2003) and Mine That Bird (2009) are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby.”  The statement may or may not be true—depending on what you mean by “gelding to win the Kentucky Derby.”  You see, Donau was gelded after he won the Kentucky Derby but won the race while intact.  He shares that with SERPENTINE   (IRE) ch. G, 2017 {9-c}, a horse that was gelded after he won the 2020 Epsom Derby.

Preakness winner HEAD PLAY (USA) ch. H, 1930 {1-k} won the race in 1932, who was on the losing end of the fighting finish of the 1932 Kentucky Derby.  The horse that beat him was Broker’s Tip, the horse that came in third in that Cincinnati Trophy Stakes.  I see both horses in modern pedigrees.

The 1923 running was an interesting one. The winner was WISE COUNSELLOR (USA) ch. H, 1921 {4-r}, who would be the two year old champion.  Wise Counsellor is interesting in that he was the last great winner of the GLENCOE   (GB) ch. H, 1831 {1-t} sire line.  Glencoe was his 7th sire in tail-male succession. That said, Wise Counsellor did have a bevy of stakes winners as a sire.  One was DELIBERATOR  (USA) b. H, 1933 {4-r}, also from the 4-r female family, and had a multiple stakes winning son AIR RATE  (USA) ch. H, 1943 {3-k}.  Air Rate won the first running of the Garden State Stakes, which turned into a very big race. According to Wikipedia, “By 1956, the total purse offered was more than $300,000 (including all nomination and starting fees), making it the richest horse race in the world.”  I know not if it is true, but CARELESS CURL  (USA) ch. M, 1956 {A2} may have been the last stakes winning progeny of a Glencoe sire line horse.

In the 1923 running of the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes, BLACK GOLD (USA) blk. H, 1921 {4-r} was to take second to Wise Counselor.  Black Gold was to be the 1st Kentucky Derby, Louisiana Derby, Derby Trial, Ohio State Derby, Chicago Derby.  A filly named BEFUDDLE  (USA) b. M, 1921 {8-f}, who was to also win the SCHUYLERVILLE STAKES at Saratoga, now a Grade 3 for 2 year old fillies.  She was third in the Kentucky Oaks, but boy-oh-boy did she have competition.  Hall of Famer PRINCESS DOREEN  (USA) b. M, 1921 {9-g} won the Kentucky Oaks, while Preakness winning filly NELLIE MORSE  (USA) b. M, 1921 {9-f}.  While Princess Doreen was to make the Hall of Fame, Nellie Morse was the three-year old champion filly.

Back to Wise Counselor—he had a stakes winning daughter STEPWISELY  (USA) br. M, 1941 {6-a}, who was the dam of multiple stakes winner BOLERO (USA) ch. H, 1946 {6-a}(one of the last horses of the Rock Sand sire line) and Sapling Stakes winner WATCH YOUR STEP  (USA) ch. H, 1956 {6-a} when she was mated to Citation.  Bolero is the sire of the second dam of Storm Cat.  Watch your Step is the sire of the second dam of the great Australian sire EXCEED AND EXCEL (AUS) b. H, 2000 {23-b}.  So, while the Glencoe sire line has been dead for some time now, Wise Counsellor lives on in the thoroughbred.

Wise Counsellor 

When BOTANICAL  (USA) b. F, 2020 {11-g} crossed the finish line, it was not the 120th running of the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes though it was first run 120 years ago in 1903.  Cincinnati Trophy Stakes was not run in 1999, 2005, and 2014 according to pedigree query dot come.  There was also a 13 year hiatus between it turning from a horse race for two year olds to a horse race for three year old fillies.

The big change to the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes came in 1983, when it ceased being a race for two-year-olds and started becoming a race for three-year-old fillies.  PAMPERED PRINCESS   (USA) b. M, 2000 {3-n} was third in 2003 and won the Grade 1 Spinster at four.

Perhaps most found in pedigrees of today is BLACK SERVANT   (USA) blk/br. H, 1918 {8-f}, who was second in the 1920 running, and second in the 1921 Kentucky Derby.  Black Servant was the sire of Champions Baba Kenny, Barn Swallow, Blue Larkspur, and Big Pebble.

GOVERNOR GRAY  (USA) b. G, 1908 {12-b} won the 1910 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes, and won the 1911 1st: American Derby, Blue Grass S., Latonia Derby.  He was the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby, to a Broomstick colt named MERIDIAN   (USA) b. H, 1908 {20}. COUSIN JO  (USA) ch. M, 1928 {22-c} came in 3rd in the 1930 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes and won the Kentucky Oaks.

The Old Latonia Racetrack, where the first Cincinnati Trophy Stakes was run, and many other renditions.

Relatively little attention was paid to the $150K Cincinnati Trophy Stakes though it is one of the “On the road to the Kentucky Oaks.”  But it is still run and first raced 120 years ago at Latonia Park.  The announcer called it the 41st running, but that is not technically true.  It is the 41st running as a race for three-year-old fillies.

On Saturday March 4, 2023, BOTANICAL  (USA) b. F, 2020 {11-g} won the 2023 rendition of the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes.  I can see horses that raced in that same race in her pedigree. T. V. AD  (USA) b. M, 1976 {11-g} is her fourth dam, and TV ads second sire is T. V. LARK   (USA) b. H, 1957 {9-c}, whose damsire is HEELFLY (USA) dkb/br. H, 1934 {20-b}, who was second in the 1936 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes. Like all horses, she has BLACK SERVANT   (USA) blk/br. H, 1918 {8-f} in her blood, who is twice in champion two- year-old colt SILENT SCREEN   (USA) ch. H, 1967 {9-b}.

The Cincinnati Trophy Stakes as horse history worth Remembering.

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