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Blame: A Horse Full Of Heart

Blame receives a peppermint from stallion groom Billy during a tour at Claiborne.

Claiborne Farm is known for their ability to produce outstanding racehorses. Among their many success stories is the one of Blame.

Blame was born May 2, 2006 on Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. His dam, Liable, was a stakes placed daughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Seeking The Gold. His sire, Arch, had a short but successful career on the racetrack.

The bay colt grew to be 16.1hh force to be reckoned with. Claiborne Farm made a great decision to race him as a homebred, sending him to trainer Albert M. Stall, Jr. Turfway Park saw Blame race for the very first time in September of 2008. Few watch a maiden special weight and think that they could be witnessing the debut of a future star. Blame finished third, but had no intention of staying a maiden much longer.

Blame broke his maiden the following month at Keeneland. He was given the rest of the year off to grow into a three-year old. He did not race again until June of 2009. That year saw Blame slowly climb the ladder of horse racing race levels; he finished third in an allowance race at Churchill and then won an allowance in July. After his allowance victory, it was time for Blame to face his first true test. He was entered into the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. Seemingly thanking his connections for the time to grow over the past year, he edged past his competitors to win by ¾ length.

Since he had a stakes win under his belt, it was time for Blame to enter graded stakes company. He made his first attempt at a graded victory in the Gr.2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, driving hard down the stretch but finishing second to Regal Ransom.

Blame’s second place finish was not discouraging for his connections. They entered him in the Gr.2 Fayette Stakes in October and Blame showed them he was the real deal. He swung wide around the far turn and powered down the middle of the stretch to win by one length.

[Video: Blame #9 wins the 2009 Fayette Stakes]

The win was a real show of heart that Blame would become famous for. He rounded out his three-year old season with another wide trip around the far turn and a battle down the stretch to win the Gr.2 Clark Handicap.

If 2009 was any indication of how Blame would perform the following year, he was going to be an outstanding racehorse. He started his four-year old season on Preakness Stakes day, winning the Gr.3 William Donald Schaefer Stakes at Pimlico. Blame then made his way to Churchill Downs for the Gr.1 Stephen Foster Handicap. When it looked almost impossible for him to win as they neared the wire, Blame switched into high gear and charged down his rivals, winning by ¾ lengths.

With hopes of adding another Gr.1 victory to Blame’s already incredible race record, his connections entered him into the Whitney. In his usual come from behind fashion, Blame ran his heart out in the stretch, beating Quality Road to the wire by just a head.

All eyes were now on Blame as he headed towards the esteemed Breeders’ Cup Classic. He had missed all of the big three-year old classics and needed a win there to add some polish to his already shining career. He was entered in the Gr.1 Jockey Club Gold Cup as his final prep. Though he was heavily favored, he nor any other horse in the field was able to catch Haynesfield. Blame finished second.

Blame acting goofy at Claiborne Farm.

The 2010 Gr.1 Breeders’ Cup Classic was one of the most anticipated races in the history of horse racing. The great mare Zenyatta would be in the race after 16 consecutive wins. To the screams of the packed Churchill Downs grandstand, Blame forged his way between horses and got into a battle with Lookin At Lucky. Blame put away Lookin At Lucky, but he was no in the clear. The shadow of Zenyatta came into view as she made her powerful run down the stretch.

The two horses lined up and battled their hearts out, but Blame was able to put his nose on the wire first. Zenyatta’s loss was a shock to her fans, but Blame’s win was a sure cause for celebration from his connections and fans.

Blame returned to his home of Claiborne Farm just after his win in the Classic. He ended his career with a record of 13:9-2-2 and $4.3 million in earnings. His stud fee was set at $35k and is set at $30k today. Among his top progeny are horses like Blamed, Marley’s Freedom, Fault, Maraud, Miss Kentucky, and more.

Today, fans visit Blame from across the country to have him pose for their cameras and put on his best show in hopes of receiving a peppermint. As the years go by, he will not be forgotten. His true display of heart and guts on the racetrack - as well as his infamous victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic - will be etched in the minds of horse racing fans forever.

[Video: Blame holds of Zenyatta to win the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic]


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