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SireKing Alfonso
CountryUnited States
BreederA. J. Alexander
OwnerJohn Snell Shawhan
TrainerTice Hutsell
Record12: 5-3-2
Major wins
Maiden Stakes (1879)
Colt Stakes (1879)
Phoenix Stakes (1880)

American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1880)

Fonso (1877–1903) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse and was the winner of the 1880 Kentucky Derby under jockey George Garret Lewis.[1] Fonso was bred in Kentucky[2] and was a chestnut colt sired by King Alfonso out of the mare Weatherwitch.

Fonso won the Phoenix Stakes as a three-year-old over Luke Blackburn who finished third, but is best remembered for going on to beat the favored Kimball in the 1880 Kentucky Derby.[3] The track was particularly dry and the dust, up to 5 inches thick, Fonso kicked up obscured the path for the other contenders.[4] Fonso finished the race with a one length lead at a time of 2:37.50 and won $3800. The owner of Kimball called a foul in the race against Fonso, but the placing was not altered. Fonso had a career record of 12 starts, 5 wins, 3 places and 2 shows.[2][4]

Fonso died at the age of 26 while standing as stud at the Oakwood Stud Farm in Lexington, Kentucky in 1903.[3] His most notable offspring was the mare Fondling (br. 1886, out of Kitty Heron by Chillicothe), who produced the champion filly Imp.


  1. ^ "Kentucky Derby Winners". Churchill Downs Incorporated. 1880-05-18. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  2. ^ a b Fonso's Pedigree
  3. ^ a b "Fonso dead" (PDF). The New York Times. 14 July 1903. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  4. ^ a b 1880 Derby notes