The Kentucky Derby Contender That Runs Like He's Paddling



Up until April 6, 2019, few people had ever seen a horse “paddle”. Even fewer have seen a horse paddling on a dirt racetrack. However, in the stretch of the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, a chestnut colt could be seen doing just that.


Vekoma has taken over social media with a storm over the past few weeks. This can mostly be attributed to his awkward running style. Many spectators say that he runs like he’s “paddling”. But this isn’t a misstep or a sign of lameness, it is simply the way he runs.


According to an article by America’s Best Racing, trainer George Weaver said that, “It's just the way he goes. He's always moved like that”.


Vekoma was bred by Alpha Delta Stables and born on May 22, 2017. He is by Candy Ride and out of Mona de Momma (Speightstown). He was raised at Lane’s End Farm, sharing a paddock with fellow Kentucky Derby contender Code of Honor. He was then purchased as a yearling by R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables at the Keeneland September Sale for $135,000. After some preparation, he was sent to trainer George Weaver.


Because he was born late into foaling season, Weaver gave Vekoma time to mature. He didn’t make his debut until Sep. 23, 2018. However, he did so with a win. Two months later he was taken up in class for the Gr.3 Nashua at Aqueduct.


The Nashua was Vekoma’s first real test. He was bobbled at the start, raced four or five wide, and raced down the stretch on the wrong lead. Despite all of this, he won the race.


He didn’t race again until March of 2019. His first start of the year came in the Gr.2 Fountain of Youth Stakes where he finished third behind Code of Honor and Bourbon War. His last preparation for the Kentucky Derby came in the Gr.2 Blue Grass Stakes. His win there propelled him to #3 on the leaderboard with 110 points.


Vekoma’s unique running style and impeccable race record have garnered him a lot of attention. He is known for being very competitive and strong willed. According to his connections, he is eager to answer any challenge presented to him.


Vekoma’s most recent work was at Palm Beach Downs on April 26th. He breezed five furlongs in 59.95, ranking ⅙.


His record currently stands at 4:3-0-1 and he has earned over $788,000.



Writing about horse racing is my passion. Help me continue to do it by donating on PayPal or on Venmo.


Connect with Champions of the Track:

Like on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

Follow on Instagram



Sources: America's Best Racing Tales from the Crib Equibase

309 views