Afleet Alex

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Afleet Alex
Sire Northern Afleet
Grandsire Afleet
Dam Maggy Hawk
Damsire Hawkster
Sex Stallion
Foaled 2002
Country United States
Colour Bay
Breeder John Martin Silverland
Owner Cash Is King Stable
Trainer Tim Ritchey
Record 12:8-2-1
Earnings $2,765,800
Major wins

Hopeful Stakes (2004)
Sanford Stakes (2004)
Arkansas Derby (2005)

Triple Crown race wins:
Preakness Stakes (2005)
Belmont Stakes (2005)
Awards
U.S. Champion 3-Year-Old Male (2005)
NTRA "Moment of the Year" (2005)

Afleet Alex (born May 9, 2002 in Florida) is an American thoroughbred race horse who, in 2005, won two of America's classic races, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. He is owned by the Cash Is King Stable partnership, was trained by Tim Ritchey and was ridden by Jeremy Rose.

Early life and racing career[edit]

Bred in Florida by John Martin Silvertand, Afleet Alex is out of the winning mare Maggy Hawk and counts multiple Grade 2-placed Unforgettable Max as a full brother. Maggy Hawk is by Hawkster, a world record holder on turf at a mile and a half. His maternal granddam is 1983 Demoiselle Stakes (G1) winner Qualique. Qualique was sired by Hawaii, a multiple grade one (G1) winner and marathon turf specialist. Also on his dam's side is Sir Gaylord, half-brother to Secretariat, who sired his fourth dam, Gaylord's Touch. Maggy Hawk has three foals of racing age, two runners, two winners and two stakes horses, including Afleet Alex. He was sired by Northern Afleet, a stakes winner from seven furlongs to nine furlongs, who was the son of the 1987 Canadian Horse of the Year, Afleet. Afleet was by the leading sire Mr. Prospector.

Afleet Alex was foaled May 9, 2002, at John Martin Silvertand's farm in Florida. At the outset, this colt faced adversity: his mother became ill 24 hours after his birth and could no longer nurse him. She did supply him with colostrum (mother's first milk that is rich in anitbodies and nutrients). Silvertrand's daughter Lauren (then nine) fed Afleet Alex from a Coors Light bottle the day after his mother became ill. The farm staff replaced the emergency bottle the next day. He continued bottle feeding for approximately 10 days until a nurse mare could be found. He was originally sold at auction as a yearling for $150,000. A year later the owner sold him in the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May two-year-olds in training sale for $75,000.

As a two-year-old, Afleet Alex won the G1 Hopeful Stakes and G2 Sanford Stakes (in stakes record time) and finished second in the G1 Champagne Stakes and the G1 Breeders Cup Juvenile. He also won maiden and allowance race scores in his first two starts. Afleet Alex started his three-year-old campaign on the Derby Trail, winning the listed Mountain Valley Stakes at Oaklawn Park in very fast time. Suffering from a lung infection, he finished last in the Rebel Stakes under jockey John R. Velazquez, but returned to win the G2 Arkansas Derby by a record eight lengths under his regular jockey, Jeremy Rose. Coming off two strong wins and discarding his Rebel Stakes mishap, Afleet Alex was one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby, run May 7, 2005. In the race, he finished third by less than a length. Jeremy Rose later said that he had not given the horse the best ride of his life.

The Preakness Stakes[edit]

Two weeks later, Afleet Alex won the second leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, the G1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, leaving Giacomo, winner of the Kentucky Derby, third. In his Preakness victory, Scrappy T, who was in the lead, swung out at the top of the stretch as a result of an aggressive smack of his jockey Ramon Dominguez's whip. The horse veered into Afleet Alex's path just as he was making his move, and they clipped heels. Afleet Alex stumbled so badly that Jeremy Rose was thrown far over his neck. The horse nearly went to his knees, and his nose came within an inch of the dirt. However, he recovered and regained his momentum, drawing away from Scrappy T for a 434 length victory. He finished the mile and three-sixteenth distance of the Preakness in 1:55, the fastest Preakness of the past eight years, turning in one of the fastest final three-sixteenths in Preakness history.

Belmont[edit]

On June 11, 2005, Afleet Alex passed Giacomo and the rest of the field in the final turn at Belmont Park to win the G1 Belmont Stakes by seven lengths, running the fastest final quarter (:2425) in that race since Arts and Letters in 1969.

The lemonade connection[edit]

Afleet Alex was named for his sire, Northern Afleet, and for the daughter of the principal owner, whom was named Alex. Afleet Alex's owners subsequently pledged a certain percentage of the colt's earnings to be donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand.

Retirement[edit]

The colt's fall campaign was derailed when he was found in late July 2005 to have a hairline fracture in his left front cannon bone, near the ankle. The fracture was discovered very early, and the prognosis was good for Afleet Alex to return to his previous level of performance. Once fully healed, the colt returned to working for the Breeder's Cup Classic, putting in two bullet works. However, Tim Ritchey decided to take the conservative path with the colt and shelved him for the year. Later in the year, avascular necrosis (the dying of tissue in the bone, creating a brittle patch) was discovered and diagnosed. The necrosis was probably due to an undetected deep bruise sustained when Afleet Alex nearly fell in the Preakness. It is believed the necrosis caused his summer condylar fracture. Tim Ritchey and Cash is King Stable announced the horse's retirement from racing on December 1, 2005.

Several awards were granted to Alex after his retirement:

He was runner-up for the 2004 Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Colt or Gelding award and won the Florida Two-Year-Old Champion Male that year.

In the 2005 World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, Afleet Alex was the World's Top Ranked Three-Year-Old Intermediate Distance Horse. He was ninth place overall, with a rating of 124 for his Preakness, sharing that spot with Deep Impact (2005 Japanese Champion Three-Year-Old Colt and Horse of the Year), Bago (2004 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner and 2004 Cartier Champion Three-Year-Old Male), Leroidesanimaux (2005 U.S. Champion Turf Male), and Starcraft on that ranking sheet, not far behind the top ranked horse and three-year-old. He was the 2005 Florida Champion Three-Year-Old Male and Horse of the Year.

In January 2006, he also won the Eclipse Award for 2005 Champion Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding and finished second to Saint Liam in the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year balloting. His victory in the 2005 Preakness Stakes was voted the National Thoroughbred Racing Association "Moment of the Year." Cash Is King Stable received a special Eclipse Award for its contributions to Alex's Lemonade Stand.

In twelve lifetime starts, Alex won eight times (six times in stakes, three times in G1 stakes), placed twice (both in G1 stakes), and came in third once (in a G1 stakes) over 12 starts, for lifetime earnings of $2,765,800.

The beginning of new promise[edit]

Afleet Alex is currently standing stud at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky where he commands US$15,000 [1] for a successful live cover breeding. His first foal, a colt, was born on January 21, 2007, at Derry Meeting Farm near Cochranville, Pennsylvania. Bred by Derry Meeting and Brian O'Rourke, the colt is the second foal out of the winning Tale of the Cat mare Baby Lets Cruise. The colt's dam is a half-sister to Grade I winner Jade Hunter.

Pedigree[edit]

Pedigree of Afleet Alex
Sire
Northern Afleet

bay 1993

Afleet

chestnut 1984

Mr. Prospector
bay 1970
Raise A Native
Gold Digger
Polite Lady
bay 1977
Venetian Jester
Friendly Ways
Nuryette

bay 1986

Nureyev
bay 1977
Northern Dancer
Special
Stellarett
bay 1978
Tentam
Square Angel
Dam
Maggy Hawk

bay 1994

Hawkster

bay 1986

Silver Hawk
bay 1979
Roberto
Gris Vitesse
Strait Lane
brown 1974
Chieftain
Level Sands
Qualique

bay 1981

Hawaii
bay 1964
Utrillo
Ethane
Dorothy Gaylord
bay 1972
Sensitivo
Gaylord's Touch

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]