Free House (horse)

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Free House
Sire Smokester
Grandsire Never Tabled
Dam Fountain Lake
Damsire Vigors
Sex Stallion
Foaled March 22, 1994[1]
Country United States
Colour Gray
Breeder John Toffan & Trudy McCaffery
Owner John Toffan & Trudy McCaffery
Trainer J. Paco Gonzalez
Record 22: 9-5-3
Earnings $3,178,971
Major wins

Norfolk Stakes (1996)
San Felipe Stakes (1997)
Santa Anita Derby (1997)
Swaps Stakes (1997)
Bel Air Handicap (1998)
Pacific Classic Stakes (1998)
Santa Anita Handicap (1999)
San Antonio Handicap (1999)

American Classic Race results:
Kentucky Derby 3rd (1997) Preakness Stakes 2nd (1997) Belmont Stakes 3rd (1997)
California Horse of the Year (1997, 1998)
Last updated on June 17, 2007

Free House (March 22, 1994 – July 19, 2004) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse that Blood-Horse Publications called one of the best California-bred horses of all time.


Free House was a gray horse bred and raced by John Toffan & Trudy McCaffery. He was the best horse sired by Smokester who won two of his four races before being retired to stud.[2]

Racing career[edit]

In 1997 Free House was the dominant three-year-old in California racing, winning the San Felipe Stakes and the most important Grade I Santa Anita Derby, both times defeating Silver Charm.

In the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the U.S. Triple Crown series, bettors sent Free House off as a more than 10:1 sixth choice behind favorites Captain Bodgit, the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial Stakes winner, and Silver Charm, the second choice. Free House started the Derby on the outside in post position thirteen. The gray colt raced at or near the lead until the final furlong when Silver Charm and Captain Bodgit caught him, and he finished third.

In the Preakness Stakes, Free House beat third-place finisher Captain Bodgit and fourth-place Touch Gold but in a head-to-head stretch drive finished second by less than a head to Silver Charm. In the Belmont Stakes, by the time the horses reached the top of the stretch, Silver Charm and Free House were once again racing head-to-head but Touch Gold came on to win, denying Silver Charm the Triple Crown with Free House finishing third.

After the Triple Crown series, Free House finished third to Touch Gold in the Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park. On his return to racing in California, he won the 1997 Swaps Stakes over Deputy Commander. In 1998, as well as a victory in the Grade III Bel Air Handicap, Free House beat Gentlemen and Touch Gold to win the Grade I Pacific Classic Stakes. Back on the track as a five-year-old in 1999, he won the San Antonio Handicap, then later in the year scored the biggest win of his career in the Santa Anita Handicap, defeating archrival Silver Charm.

Stud record[edit]

After his retirement from racing Free House stood at stud at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, California. On July 19, 2004 he was euthanized following an accident that fractured his skull. In his brief stallion career, he led California's first-crop list in 2003 by progeny earnings and notably sired multiple stakes winner House of Fortune.[3]


Pedigree of Free House (USA), gray stallion, 1994[1]
Smokester (USA)
Never Tabled (USA)
Never Bend Nasrullah
Table Flirt Round Table
Small World (USA)
Transworld Prince John
Swoon Bread Swoon's Son
Lawdy Claudy
Fountain Lake (USA)
Vigors (USA)
Grey Dawn Herbager
Relifordie El Relicario
Hotsie Totsie (USA)
Icecapade Nearctic
Justaguest Groton
Guest Shot (Family 8-g)[4]


  1. ^ a b "Free House pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  2. ^ "California Stallion Smokester, Sire of Free House, Dies". The Blood-Horse. 22 February 2005. 
  3. ^ "California Star Free House Dies". The Blood-Horse. 20 July 2004. 
  4. ^ "Violet Melrose - Family 8-g". Thoroughbred Bloodlines. Retrieved 2014-02-22.