Ferdinand (horse)

Sire Nijinsky
Grandsire Northern Dancer
Dam Banja Luka
Damsire Double Jay
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1983
Country United States
Colour Chestnut
Breeder Howard B. Keck
Owner Elizabeth A. Keck
Trainer Charlie Whittingham
Record 29:8-9-6
Earnings $3,777,978
Major wins

Santa Catalina Stakes (1986)
Malibu Stakes (1986)
Goodwood Handicap (1987)
Cabrillo Handicap (1987)
Hollywood Gold Cup (1987)

American Classics / Breeders' Cup wins:
Kentucky Derby (1986)
Preakness Stakes 2nd (1986)
Breeders' Cup Classic (1987)
U.S. Champion Older Male Horse (1987)
United States Horse of the Year (1987)
Last updated on May 6, 2010

Ferdinand (March 12, 1983 – 2002) was a Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 1986 Kentucky Derby and 1987 Breeders' Cup Classic. He was voted the 1987 Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.

He entered stud in 1989 and was later sold to a breeding farm in Japan in 1994.

Much to the outrage of many horse racing enthusiasts, reports indicate that in 2002 Ferdinand was sent to slaughter in Japan with no fanfare or notice to previous owners. He likely became either pet food or steaks for human consumption.[1] Ferdinand's death was the catalyst for the Ferdinand Fee, an optional donation program to fund keeping old racehorses alive, and Friends of Ferdinand, a nonprofit group formed in 2005 with the goal of transitioning retired racehorses into second careers.

In September 2006, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which would ban the slaughter of horses in the United States. The bill did not make it out of committee in the Senate, however. In January 2007, the bill was re-introduced. As of 2012, the act has not been passed into law.

1986 Kentucky Derby

In 1986, Ferdinand entered the Derby under Bill Shoemaker and won the race from starting gate number one.

1987 Breeders Cup

In 1987, Ferdinand, Kentucky Derby winner of 1986, met Alysheba, Derby winner of 1987. They reached the wire close together, with Ferdinand winning by a nose over Alysheba. Ferdinand won the titles of Horse of the Year and Champion Older Horse. He was the first Classic winner to win the title, just three years after its inaugural running.

1988 season

Ferdinand returned to racing in 1988 as a five-year-old, but he lost to Alysheba multiple times. He was then retired and sent to stud.

Race record

Date Track Race Distance


9/8/1985 Del Mar Maiden 6 8
10/6/1985 Santa Anita Park Maiden 6 3
10/20/1985 Santa Anita Park Maiden 8 2
11/3/1985 Santa Anita Park Maiden 8 1
12/15/1985 Hollywood Park Hollywood Futurity 8 3
1/4/1986 Santa Anita Park Los Feliz Stakes 8 2
1/29/1986 Santa Anita Park Santa Catalina Stakes 8 ½ 1
2/22/1986 Santa Anita Park San Rafael Stakes 8 2
4/6/1986 Santa Anita Park Santa Anita Derby 8 ½ 3
5/3/1986 Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby 10 1
5/17/1986 Pimlico Race Course Preakness Stakes 9 ½ 2
6/7/1986 Belmont Park Belmont Stakes 12 3
12/26/1986 Santa Anita Park Malibu Stakes 7 1
1/18/1987 Santa Anita Park San Fernando Stakes 9 4
2/8/1987 Santa Anita Park Strub Stakes 10 2
3/8/1987 Santa Anita Park Santa Anita Handicap 10 2
3/29/1987 Santa Anita Park San Luis Rey Stakes 12 (turf) 4
5/10/1987 Hollywood Park John Henry Handicap 9 (turf) 3
6/7/1987 Hollywood Park Californian Stakes 9 4
6/28/1987 Hollywood Park Hollywood Gold Cup 10 1
8/29/1987 Del Mar Cabrillo Handicap 9 1
11/7/1987 Santa Anita Park Goodwood Handicap 9 1
11/21/1987 Hollywood Park Breeders' Cup Classic 10 1
2/14/1988 Santa Anita Park San Antonio Handicap 9 2
3/6/1988 Santa Anita Park Santa Anita Handicap 10 2
4/17/1988 Santa Anita Park San Bernardino Handicap 9 2
6/12/1988 Hollywood Park Californian Stakes 9 4
6/26/1988 Hollywood Park Hollywood Gold Cup 10 3
10/22/1988 Santa Anita Park Goodwood Handicap 9 4

The Ferdinand Fee

In the summer of 2006, the New York Owners and Breeders' Association, based in Saratoga Springs, New York, initiated the small voluntary per-race charge (collected from owners of NY Breeds) called the "Ferdinand Fee" that will funnel the revenue to Bluegrass Charities and the Thoroughbred Charities of America, two organizations that help fund race horse rescue and retirement groups. Another small step in maintaining the safety of Thoroughbreds sent to breeding sheds around the world: Some owners are now including buy-back clauses within their stallion contracts. Reportedly, such clauses were included for Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm (who was moved to Old Friends Equine in Georgetown, Kentucky upon his 2014 retirement after the buy-back clause was invoked)[2] and Dubai World Cup winner Roses in May, both of whom were sent to Japan.

See also


Pedigree of Ferdinand
Nijinsky II b. 1967
Northern Dancer b. 1961 Nearctic Nearco
Lady Angela
Natalma Native Dancer
Flaming Page b. 1959 Bull Page Bull Lea
Our Page
Flaring Top Menow
Flaming Top
Banja Luka b. 1968
Double Jay b. 1944 Balladier Black Toney
Blue Warbler
Broomshot Whisk Broom
Center Shot
Legato b. 1956 Dark Star Royal Gem
Vulcania Some Chance


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