Canonero II

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Canonero II
Sire Pretendre
Grandsire Doutelle
Dam Dixieland II
Damsire Nantallah
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1968
Country Venezuela
Colour Bay
Breeder Edward B. Benjamin
Owner Pedro Baptista
King Ranch (late 1971)
Trainer Juan Arias
Buddy Hirsch (1972)
Record 23: 9-3-4
Earnings $360,804
Major wins

Stymie Handicap (1972)

Triple Crown Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1971)
Preakness Stakes (1971)
Awards
U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1971)
Last updated on September 27, 2006

Canonero II (1968–1981) (in Spanish: Cañonero II) was a Venezuelan champion Thoroughbred race horse that may be best remembered for winning the first two legs of the 1971 U.S. Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

Background[edit]

Bred by Edward B. Benjamin in Greensboro, North Carolina, the bay colt was born with a noticeably crooked foreleg, so was considered to have no future in racing. He was sold as a yearling for $1,200 at the Keeneland Sales. Purchased by Edgar Caibett, the horse was shipped to his owner Caibett's native Venezuela, where he earned an undistinguished record racing as a two-year-old.

Triple Crown races[edit]

Because of his breeding, Canonero II qualified for the Kentucky Derby, the most prestigious event in United States Thoroughbred horse racing. Trained by Juan Arias and ridden by jockey Gustavo Avila, in the spring of 1971, the horse was shipped to Louisville, Kentucky, for the big race. There, Canonero II was dismissed as a horse that did not belong in such elite company and was listed at the bottom of the pack of the betting odds as part of a six-horse pool.

In the Derby's 20-horse field, Canonero II shocked everyone by coming from 18th place to storm past the competition, easily winning the race by 334 lengths. Arguably the most astonishing upset in the race's history was deemed a fluke by many of horse racing's experts, who predicted Canonero II would never win another race. However, in the Preakness Stakes, the second of the Triple Crown races, Canonero II won again.

The third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes held near New York City, was run before the largest crowd in its history. The stands were filled with members of the city's large Latino community, there to cheer on their new hero. However, due to a foot infection that had bothered the horse for several days, Canonero II, after taking the race lead, struggled across the finish line in fourth place. Despite this loss, he was named the winner of the 1971 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Three-Year-Old Male Horse.

Later career[edit]

Sold to the King Ranch, Canonero II was nursed back to health by Hall of Fame trainer Buddy Hirsch. The following year in the Stymie Handicap at Belmont Park, he set a track record while defeating the great three-year-old champion Riva Ridge.

Retired to stud at the end of 1972, Canonero II died in 1981.

Pedigree of Canonero II
Sire
Pretendre
Doutelle Prince Chevalier Prince Rose
Chevalerie
Above Board Straight Deal
Feola
Limicola Verso Pinceau
Variete
Uccello Donatello II
Great Tit
Dam
Dixieland II
Nantallah Nasrullah Nearco
Mumtaz Begum
Shimmer Flares
Broad Ripple
Ragtime Band Johnstown Jamestown
La France
Martial Air Man o' War
Baton

References[edit]