Industry Icons

Here’s a look in chronological order of 20 Florida-bred racehorses, including 12 receiving the highest honor of induction into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, who have contributed to the Florida Thoroughbred industry’s six decades of success. 

  1. Needles was the first Florida-bred to be named a national champion (1955), to win the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes (1956), to lead the country in earnings ($440,850 in 1956) and to be inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame (1974). He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2000. Needles’ Kentucky Derby win is credited with boosting the fledgling Florida Thoroughbred industry. In early 1956, there were only four Thoroughbred farms in the area. By 1958, there were 30.
  2. My Dear Girl was the first Florida-bred filly to be named a national champion in 1959.
  3. Carry Back became the second Florida-bred Kentucky Derby winner and first Preakness Stakes winner (1961). In 1962, he became the first Florida-bred millionaire and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1975.
  4. Roman Brother was the first Florida-bred to be named North American Horse of the Year (1965).
  5. Dr. Fager, who in 1971 was the first Florida-bred to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, is the only racehorse to win four national titles in a single year. In 1968, he was named the North American Horse of the Year, champion sprinter, champion handicap horse and champion grass horse. He also still owns the world record time for a mile (1:32 1/5), set in 1968.
  6. Ta Wee, Dr. Fager’s half-sister, joined her brother in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1994. She was the North American champion sprinter (1969 and 1970).

  7. Susan’s Girl was the North American champion 3-year-old filly (1972) and champion handicap mare (1973 and 1975). In 1976, she was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.

  8. Desert Vixen was named the North American champion 3-year-old filly (1973) and champion handicap mare (1974). She was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1979.
  9. Foolish Pleasure won the 1975 Kentucky Derby and was named the North American champion 3-year-old colt that year. In 1995, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.
  10. Affirmed, who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1980, captured the 1978 Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes). He reigned as the last horse to accomplish that feat for 37 years until American Pharoah, who was broken and trained in Ocala, won the 2015 Triple Crown. Affirmed was the North American champion 2-year-old colt (1977), champion 3-year-old colt (1978), champion older horse (1979) and Horse of the Year (1978 and 1979).

  11. Conquistador Cielo won the 1982 Belmont Stakes; he was named North American Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old colt.
  12. Precisionist captured the 1985 Breeders’ Sprint and was named that year’s North American champion sprinter. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.
  13. Unbridled is one of only three horses to have won the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic in the same year (1990). He was named the 1990 North American champion 3-year-old colt and is the fifth-leading all-time Florida-bred money earner ($4,489,475).

  14. Holy Bull was named the 1994 North American Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old colt. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.
  15. Silver Charm won the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes on his way to being named the North American champion 3-year-old colt. In 1998, he traveled to the United Arab Emirates where he became the first Florida-bred winner of the Dubai World Cup. Silver Charm is the second-leading all-time Florida-bred money earner ($6,944,369). He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2007.

  16. Skip Away, who won the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic, is the leading all-time Florida-bred money earner ($9,616,360). He was named the North American champion 3-year-old colt (1996), champion older male (1997 and 1998) and Horse of the Year (1998). In 2004, Skip Away was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.

  17. Afleet Alex won the 2005 Preakness Stakes despite colliding with another horse and falling to his knees before miraculously recovering to cross the finish line first. He also won the 2005 Belmont Stakes and was named the North American champion 3-year-old colt that season.

  18. Awesome Feather was undefeated in 2010, including winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She was named the 2010 North American champion 2-year-old filly.
  19. Caledonia Road won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in only her third career start and became a millionaire. She was named the 2017 North American champion 2-year-old filly.

  20. World Approval captured the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Mile and earned $2,043,600 on the season. He was named the 2017 North American champion turf male.
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