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8 Facts About Kentucky Derby Contender Thousand Words

Kentucky Derby contender Thousand Words
Thousand Words winning the Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita Park.

1. Thousand Words is sired by Pioneerof the Nile, a very successful sire who stood at WinStar Farm until he passed away on March 18, 2019. Pioneerof The Nile was one of the favorites in the 2009 Kentucky Derby after winning four consecutive graded-stakes races (including the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby), but finished second to 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird. At stud he was best known as the sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, but also sired horses like Classic Empire, Midnight Storm, and Cairo Prince.

2. Thousand Words is out of a three-time graded stakes mare named Pomeroys Pistol. Pomeroy’s Pistol (Pomeroy) won two Grade 2 races and one Grade 3. She also finished second in two Grade 1 races: the Prioress Stakes and the Test Stakes. The beautiful bay mare had two foals before Thousand Words (though he is her first stakes winner) and currently has a yearling by Hard Spun. Thousand Words is said to be the spitting image of his mother!

3. He was bred in Florida, who have produced six Kentucky Derby winners. Florida’s year-round sunshine and limestone-rich grass have nurtured six Kentucky Derby winners from birth until it was time to hit the racetrack: Needles, Carry Back, Foolish Pleasure, Affirmed, Unbridled, and Silver Charm. It’s been a handful of years since a Florida-bred has won the Kentucky Derby, but Florida has been that state where countless Derby winners and Champions trained.

4. The Albaugh Family & Spendthrift Farm purchased Thousand Words for $1 million before he had ever even raced. It’s the norm to see hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on yearlings (horses who are only one years old and have never raced) at the Keeneland September Sale, but everyone is sure to take a second-look at a horse when they command a seven figure purchase price. Thousand Words’ sparkling pedigree and beautiful build drew a lot of attention at the prestigious sale, and the bidding didn’t stop until it reached $1,000,000. His buyers were sure that he was going to be a star, even without any racing or race training under his belt.

5. Thousand Words and his sire Pioneerof The Nile had the same trainer: Bob Baffert. Pioneerof The Nile was originally under the care of trainer Bill Mott, but was transferred to the barn of Bob Baffert after he broke his fifth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Under Baffert’s guidance, Pioneerof The Nile won four races. He retired after the Preakness Stakes in 2009. Thousand Words has been trained by Bob Baffert throughout his entire career.

6. Six horses who started in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), a race Thousand Words won as a two-year old in 2019, have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. Most of those six horses who went on to win the Kentucky Derby didn’t actually win the Los Alamitos Futurity, they were still very accomplished racehorses. Those six are: Gato del Sol, Ferdinand, Alysheba, Thunder Gulch, Real Quiet, and Giacomo.

7. Bob Baffert says that Thousand Words “soured” on him for a while there, but is finally back to his old form. Thousand Words lost three consecutive races in 2020 and it was beginning to look like he may not be a strong Kentucky Derby contender after all. After Thousand Words beat Derby favorite Honor A.P. in the Shared Belief Stakes, Baffert told the media, “I could tell when we got down here that he was a different horse from Los Alamitos and the real Thousand Words showed up today. His whole mind changed. His color has changed. He had soured out on me, but we got him going the right way. I think he earned his way to the Derby.”

8. Thousand Words ranks #7 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. This colt has earned 83 points towards the Kentucky Derby with wins in three points races, the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3), and Shared Belief Stakes; a second place finish in the Los Alamitos Derby; and a fourth place finish in the San Felipe Stakes (G2).

[Video: Watch Thousand Words (#2) win the Shared Belief Stakes over Honor A.P.]


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