Phil Drake

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Phil Drake
SireAdmiral Drake
GrandsireCraig an Eran
BreederSuzy Volterra
OwnerSuzy Volterra
TrainerFrancois Mathet
Record5: 3-1-0
Major wins
Prix La Rochette (1955)
Epsom Derby (1955)
Grand Prix de Paris (1955)

Phil Drake (1952–1964) was a French Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a brief racing career which lasted from May to July 1955, Phil Drake ran five times and won three races, becoming the fifth and last horse to win both The Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris.


Phil Drake, a brown horse with a white stripe was bred in France by his owner Mme Leon “Suzy” Volterra. His sire Admiral Drake was a top class racehorse who won the Grand Prix de Paris in 1934. Phil Drake’s dam, Philippa, was a successful racehorse who also produced the Prix Morny winner Bozet. Phil Drake was trained by Francois Mathet at Chantilly.

Racing career[edit]

1955: three-year-old season[edit]

Phil Drake was a slow maturing colt who did not race as a two-year-old. He made his first racecourse appearance in the spring of 1955 when he ran second in the Prix Juigné, finishing strongly and narrowly failing to catch his stable companion Datour. The colt developed respiratory problems after the race and his connections considered "scratching" him (withdrawing his entry) from the Derby.[1] In May, however, he won the three-year-old division of the Prix La Rochette at Longchamp in impressive style to establish himself as a Derby contender. Before the news of his victory reached England some “astute punters” backed him for the Derby at odds of up to 50/1.[2]

In the Derby, he started at 100/8 in a field of twenty-three and was ridden by Freddie Palmer, in front of a crowd estimated at 200,000 including the Queen. Phil Drake was held up by Palmer in the early stages and was not in the first fifteen at half way. In the straight he produced a sustained run to move through the field, but was still only sixth entering the final furlong as the 100/1 Irish colt Panaslipper went clear. In the closing stages Phil Drake was switched to the inside and produced a "tremendous finishing burst"[3] to overtake Panaslipper and win going away by one and a half lengths, with the 11/4 favourite, Acropolis a further three lengths back in third.[2]

Later in June he won the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp, beating the Prix du Jockey Club winner Rapace,[4] and becoming the fifth and last horse to win the Derby-Grand Prix double, following Gladiateur, Cremorne, Spearmint and My Love.[2] On his final start, Phil Drake ran in Britain's most valuable race, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot for which he started 8/11 favourite. After making a brief effort in the straight he faded to finish sixth of the ten runners behind Vimy.[5]


In their book A Century of Champions, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Phil Drake an “average” Derby winner.[6]

Timeform rated Phil Drake on a mark of 132. A rating of 130 is considered the mark of an above average European Group One winner.[7]

Stud career[edit]

The best of Phil Drake’s offspring was Dicta Drake, who won the Coronation Cup and the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.


Pedigree of Phil Drake (FR), brown stallion, 1952[8]
Admiral Drake (FR)
Craig an Eran
Sunstar Sundridge
Maid of the Mist Cyllene
Plucky Liege
Spearmint (horse) Carbine (horse)
Maid of the Mint
Concertina St. Simon (horse)
Comic Song
Philippa (FR)
Vatout Prince Chimay
Lady Elinor Teddy
Madame Royale
Philippa of Hainault
Teddy Ajax
Pride of Hainault Hainault
Matragons Pride (Family: 8-i)


  1. ^ "Phil Drake sprints to capture Derby". Sarasota Herald-Times. Retrieved 2011-11-06.|
  2. ^ a b c Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN 0-354-08536-0.
  3. ^ "Phil Drake wins Derby". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  4. ^ "Phil Drake favoured in French turf race". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  5. ^ "Phil Drake sixth of ten". Daytona Beach Post. Retrieved 2011-11-06.|
  6. ^ Randall, J and Morris, T. Portway Press, 1999, p. 205
  7. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions(Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  8. ^ "English Derby Winner: Phil Drake". Retrieved 2011-11-06.

External links[edit]