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One-Eyed Horses in the Kentucky Derby


Pollard's Vision who ran in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
Updated: 05/08/2017

Most people have heard of the one-eyed Pollard's Vision, named after Seabiscuit's jockey Red Pollard who was blind in one eye, who ran in the 2004 Kentucky Derby, finishing 17th. In 2017 Calumet Farm's Patch, who is missing his left eye, ran in the Kentucky Derby and was a fan favorite. Curious about what other one-eyed or blind in one eye horses have run in the Kentucky Derby, I was able to find two others: Cassaleria from 1982 and Storm in May from 2007. If there were any others, please let me know so I can add them here.

Cassaleria is reported as the first one-eyed horse to run in the Kentucky Derby. He was foaled in 1979 and injured his left eye as a very young foal on the farm so never knew to miss his left eye. He still had a successful career on the track, winning 5 of 28 starts with 6 seconds, 8 thirds and $525,662 in earnings. He won two graded stakes: the El Camino Real Stakes (G2) and the Longacres Derby (G3). Trained by Ron McAnally, he came into the Kentucky Derby off a 3rd in the San Felipe, 6th in the Santa Anita Derby, and 3rd in the California Derby. He went off at odds of 12-1 in the Kentucky Derby and was never a factor in the race, finishing 13th. He retired to stud at age 4 at Bradyleigh Farm near Lexington where he was born and died there from farm injuries in 1993.

Pollard's Vision in the post parade for the 2004 Kentucky Derby.

Pollard's Vision was the next in 2004, blind in his right eye. He was one of about 100 foals in Kentucky in 2001 to lose the sight in one or both eyes due to an obscure side-effect of mare reproductive loss syndrome. Despite this rough start, he retired a multiple graded stakes with with 23 starts, 6 winds, 7 seconds, 4 thirds, and $1,430,311 in earnings for trainer Todd Pletcher. He came into the 2004 Kentucky Derby off a win in the Illinois Derby (G2) when it was still run in early April. At odds of 24-1. he stalked the pace early then faded badly to finish 17th in the Kentucky Derby. He went on to have a successful career after the Derby, although not spectacular, and retired to stud at age 4. He currently stands stud at Mighty Acres in Oklahoma for a $3,000 fee.

Storm in May returns after the 2007 Kentucky Derby.

Storm in May is mostly forgotten now, but he was the one-eyed horse in the 2007 Kentucky Derby. Blind in the right eye since he was a foal, he raced until age 5 but was winless in his last two seasons. His record was 32 starts with 4 wins, 3 seconds, 7 thirds, and $511,282 in earnings. He was graded stakes placed, with his only stakes win coming in the restricted 2007 Sunshine Millions Dash. He came into the 2007 Kentucky Derby off a 3rd in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) and a 2nd in the Arkansas Derby (G2) behind eventual Horse of the Year Curlin. He went off at 27-1 in the Kentucky Derby and was never a factor, finishing 16th for trainer Bill Kaplan. He never won another race after that and dropped down the ranks to finish his career in allowance/optional claimer races at Calder. After retiring from the track, he started a second career as a show horse and he competed in the 2012 Heritage Horse Show in Plantation, Florida.

Patch gallops at Churchill Downs on Wednesday before the Derby.
 

This year we have Patch, who is missing his left eye as a result of an accident at the track. His name has nothing to do with his missing eye as he was already named and at the track before he lost it. His sire is Union Rags and Patch was selected as a play off that. Bred and owned by Calumet Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher who also trained Pollard's Vision, he did not start until January and is lightly raced with only 3 starts, including two maiden races and his 2nd place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2). In the 2017 Kentucky Derby he broke from post 20, was never better placed that 9th in the race, and finished 14th.

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