Da Hoss

Last updated
Da Hoss
Churchill Downs 6-16-07 - Patten 025.jpg
Da Hoss during a show at the Kentucky Horse Park
Sire Gone West
Grandsire Mr. Prospector
DamJolly Saint
DamsireWelsh Saint
Sex Gelding
Country United States
Colour Bay
BreederFares Farms
OwnerWallstreet Racing Stables
Prestonwood Farm (1996)
Trainer Michael Dickinson [1]
Record20: 12-5-2
Earnings$1,931,558 [2]
Major wins
Best Turn Stakes (1995)
Jersey Derby (1995)
Del Mar Derby (1995)
Fourstardave Handicap (1996)
Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap (1996)

Breeders' Cup wins:

Breeders' Cup Mile (1996, 1998)
Kentucky-bred Turf Horse Male (1998)
Last updated on January 1, 2008

Da Hoss (foaled January 18, 1992) by Gone West (by Mr. Prospector) out of Jolly Saint (by Welsh Saint) is a bay Thoroughbred gelding best known for twice winning the Breeders' Cup Mile.



He was bred in Kentucky by Fares Farms and originally owned by Prestonwood Farm as well as Wallstreet Racing Stables.

Da Hoss was purchased for $6,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland Sales, by Kevin Eikleberry and Clifford Thygesen, bringing the lowest price for a Gone West yearling for all of 1993. The horse had physical problems, bone spurs in his hocks, and a previously infected hoof that had rotted away part of his coffin bone. After being purchased, and determined to be healthy enough to attempt a racing career, Da Hoss was taken to Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona.

Racing career

19941996: Early career

Da Hoss was undefeated in his two-year-old season, consisting of three starts. After winning his first race, at Turf Paradise, by one length, he followed that effort with an allowance score before concluding his first season on the racetrack with a stakes win, the ATBA Sales Stakes, where he completed the six-furlong distance in a then-record time of 1:07 1/5.

In his first start at three, Da Hoss took the Grade III 'Best Turn Stakes (now known as the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes), the Grade II Jersey Derby, and the Grade II Del Mar Derby, and came second in the Grade II Gotham Stakes, Illinois Stakes, Swaps Stakes, and Pegasus Stakes in addition to winning another allowance. The horse he finished second to in the GII Swaps Stakes was that year's Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner, Thunder Gulch. He also ran third in the G1 Crown Royal Hollywood Derby. In his first Breeders’ Cup appearance, the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint on dirt, Da Hoss finished 13th; it was the only time in his 20-race career that he failed to hit the board.

1996 began with a third place finish in the Poker Handicap at Belmont Park, and Da Hoss found himself in the winner's circle again in his next start, the G3 Fourstardave Handicap. Next was a win in the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap, then a second in the Kelso Handicap, before entering the starting gate at Woodbine for the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Mile under jockey Gary Stevens. Da Hoss won by one and a half lengths to the call of "it's da American, Da Hoss, in da Mile!" [3]

Da Hoss did not race again for 715 days.

1998: Comeback

Da Hoss' physical problems kept him out of the starting gate for nearly two years. Each time they put him back into serious training, Dickinson said, the competitive animal would try too hard and overexert himself, causing an injury to flare up and putting him back on the sidelines. [4] Dickinson was determined to get the horse back to the Breeders’ Cup, but by the fall of 1998, he was running out of time. There was time for only one prep race for the 1998 Mile, which was an allowance event at Colonial Downs written specifically to get the horse in a race. After Da Hoss won by three parts of a length, Dickinson entered him in the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Mile. It is likely the horse would have been refused entry had he not won the race previously, as the committee wanted to avoid another incident like Ricks Natural Star. [5] Dickinson wanted Gary Stevens to ride Da Hoss, but the jockey's agent had committed him to another horse. John Velazquez ultimately took the mount, and Dickinson challenged Stevens' agent, Ron Anderson, to a $1,000 personal bet as to who would finish in front of the other - Da Hoss or Among Men, who Anderson had put Stevens on for the race.

After a delayed start caused by several horses not wanting to load in the starting gate, Da Hoss settled in sixth in the early stages of the race, allowing the speed horses to battle it out in front of him, and was among those closing in on Favorite Trick heading to the final straight. Da Hoss neared the front at the top of the stretch, to the surprised call of "Da Hoss is in with a chance on the outside!" Surging to the lead, Da Hoss was approached in the stretch to his outside by Hawksley Hill, who took over the lead by a nose nearing the finish. With no one challenging from behind, it seemed that Da Hoss would finish second, but the same competitiveness that had prolonged his comeback finally worked to the gelding's benefit. Da Hoss gained back the ground lost and put his nose back in front just before the wire to take his second Breeders' Cup. Announcer Tom Durkin yelled, "Oh, my, this is the greatest comeback since Lazarus! He's had one race in two years!" [6] Twenty years later, Catholic Boy re-rallying in two races to defeat Analyze It stirred up memories of Da Hoss' famous win in the 1998 Mile.

The 1998 Mile was Da Hoss' final race. In his twenty starts, he won 12 races, placed in 5 others, and came home third twice. His career earnings amounted to $1,931,558, nearly $3.1 million dollars adjusted for inflation.

Until Ouija Board took her second non-consecutive Breeders' Cup win in 2006, Da Hoss was one of only six horses to ever win two Breeders' Cup races and the only one to win in non-consecutive years.


Da Hoss in December 2018, shortly before his 27th birthday. Da Hoss in his winter paddock at the Kentucky Horse Park.jpg
Da Hoss in December 2018, shortly before his 27th birthday.
Da Hoss showing outside (due to COVID-19) in the summer of 2020. Da Hoss Summer 2020.jpg
Da Hoss showing outside (due to COVID-19) in the summer of 2020.

Da Hoss now lives at the Kentucky Horse Park in the Hall of Champions, in Lexington, Kentucky. [7] His primary caretakers are Rob Willis, Laura Kraner, Jenny Leslie and Paul Caywood, who work with all of the Hall of Champions' equine residents on a daily basis. Other current Thoroughbred residents are Kentucky Derby winners Go For Gin and Funny Cide, as well as 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given.

The residents of the Hall have jobs as ambassadors for their respective disciplines, and all are donated or on long term lease to the Park. In the summer, the horses have a set schedule of bathing, grooming, and showing. They meet their public daily, creating new fans and indulging old ones, and are turned out in their paddocks in the evening. Da Hoss is known for giving kisses, or pressing his nose to a person's cheek in exchange for a treat, [8] a trick which was taught to him by Joan Wakefield during his racing career. As the resident stallions are territorial over their stalls and paddocks, Da Hoss and three of the other five geldings at the Hall of Champions are stalled in the Park's "Big Barn" on days that they are not on the show schedule.

Race Record

DateAgeDistanceRaceGradeTrackOddsFieldFinishWinning TimeWinning
Sep 24, 19942Maiden Special WeightTurf Paradise*1.301011:03.40 Flavio Martinez III [9]
Oct 18, 19942 Allowance AllowanceTurf Paradise*0.80811:09.80 Flavio Martinez III [10]
Oct 30, 19942 ATBA Sales Stakes Black Type Turf Paradise*0.601211:07.20 Flavio Martinez III [11]
Mar 4, 19953 Best Turn Stakes Aqueduct2.35911:11.27 Michael Luzzi [12]
Mar 25, 19953 Gotham Stakes Aqueduct*1.601121:36.82 Michael Luzzi [13]
Apr 29, 19953 Allowance AllowanceGarden State Park*0.40611:36.78 Donald Miller Jr. [14]
May 13, 19953 Illinois Derby Sportsman's Park7.301321:48.99 Garrett Gomez [15]
May 27, 19953 Jersey Derby Garden State Park*1.601011:43.01 Julie Krone [16]
Jul 23, 19953 Swaps Stakes Hollywood Park9.40721:40.09 Chris McCarron [17]
Sep 4, 19953 Del Mar Invitational Derby Del Mar4.00911:48.08 Rene Douglas [18]
Sep 22, 19953 Pegasus Handicap Meadowlands*0.40421:40.27 Jerry Bailey [19]
Oct 28, 19953 Breeders' Cup Sprint Belmont Park10.5013131:09.14 Jerry Bailey [20]
Nov 26, 19953 Crown Royal Hollywood Derby Hollywood Park3.201331:46.42 Corey Nakatani [21]
Jul 4, 19964 Poker Handicap Belmont Park4.901031:35.78 Cornelio Velasquez [22]
Jul 29, 19964 Fourstardave Stakes Saratoga4.001311:40.54 John Velazquez [23]
Aug 11, 19964 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap ListedPenn National*0.801011:41.20 Frank Alvarado [24]
Oct 5, 19964 Kelso Handicap Belmont Park*1.701021:34.42 Gary Stevens [25]
Oct 26, 19964 Breeders' Cup Mile Woodbine8.451411:35.80 Gary Stevens [26]
Oct 11, 19986 Allowance AllowanceColonial Downs*0.60611:49.30 Carlos Marquez Jr. [27]
Nov 7, 19986 Breeders' Cup Mile Churchill Downs11.601411:35.27 John Velazquez [28]

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  1. http://www.tapeta.com/trainer.html Michael Dickinson bio
  2. http://www.pedigreequery.com/da+hoss The pedigree of Da Hoss
  3. "1996 Breeders' Cup Mile - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  4. "Da Comeback". cs.bloodhorse.com. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  5. Hammonds, Evan (October 26, 213). "30 Years in 30 Days: A 'Star' is Born, 1996". www.bloodhorse.com. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  6. "1998 Breeders' Cup Mile - Da Hoss + Post Race - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  7. http://www.kyhorsepark.com/khp/champions/dahoss.asp Da Hoss at the Kentucky Horse Park
  8. Meiner, Nicole (2019-04-23). "Da Hoss Giving Kisses". Twitter.
  9. "Chart for Turf Paradise on September 24 1994". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  10. "Chart for Turf Paradise on October 18 1994". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  11. "Chart for the ATBA Sales Stakes". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  12. "Chart for the Best Turn Stakes". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  13. "Chart for the Gotham Stakes". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  14. "Chart for Garden State Park on April 29 1995". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  15. "Chart for the Illinois Derby". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  16. "Chart for the Jersey Derby". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  17. "Chart for the Swaps Stakes". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  18. "Chart for the Del Mar Invitational Derby". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  19. "Chart for the Pegasus Handicap". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  20. "Chart for the Breeders' Cup Sprint". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  21. "Chart for the Crown Royal Hollywood Derby". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  22. "Chart for the Poker Handicap". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  23. "Chart for the Fourstardave Stakes". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  24. "Chart for Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  25. "Chart for the Kelso Handicap". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  26. "Chart for the Breeders' Cup Mile 1996". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  27. "Chart for Colonial Downs on October 11 1998". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  28. "Chart for the Breeders' Cup Mile 1998". Equibase. Retrieved 11 March 2021.