|Foaled||23 March 1964|
|Breeder||Margaret Hager Rogers|
|Owner||Charles W. Engelhard, Jr.|
|Trainer||Fulke Johnson Houghton|
British Classic Race wins:
St. Leger Stakes (1967)
|Last updated on July 26, 2008|
Ribocco (foaled 1964 in Kentucky) was an American-bred British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. He is best known for his performances in 1967 when he won two of the most important European races for three-year-olds; the Irish Derby and the St Leger. Ribocco briefly held the record for prize money won by a British-trained racehorse.
Ribocco was a small, but powerfully-built bay horse bred at the Idle Hour Farm in Paris, Kentucky by Mrs J. G. (Margaret) Rogers. As a yearling he was sent to the Keeneland sales where he was bought for $35,000 by Charles W. Engelhard, Jr.. He was a son of the undefeated dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, Ribot out of the mare Libra. Libra won only one minor race, but went on to become a notable broodmare, producing Ribero (Irish Derby, St Leger) and Libra's Rib (Princess of Wales's Stakes). Ribocco was sent to England to be trained by Fulke Johnson Houghton at Blewbury in Berkshire.
1966: two-year-old career
Ribocco made his racecourse debut in July when he won a maiden race at Newbury and returned to the same course a month later to win the Washington Singer Stakes. In September he was moved up in class to contest the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster and finished second to the Irish-bred Bold Lad. On his final start of the year Ribocco returned to Doncaster for the Observer Gold Cup, Britain's most valuable race for two-year-olds. He established himself as one of the best colts of his generation with an easy win. In the Free Handicap, an end of season ranking of the best British two-year-olds Ribocco was ranked third behind Bold Lad and Royal Palace.
1967: three-year-old season
Ribocco's performances in the spring of 1967 were disappointing: he was well beaten in the Craven Stakes, the Dee Stakes and the Lingfield Derby Trial. His odds for the Derby drifted out despite the booking of Britain's leading jockey Lester Piggott to ride him in the race.
At Epsom Ribocco started at odds of 22/1 in a field of twenty-two runners. Piggott held the colt up in the early stages before moving him to the wide outside on the turn into the straight. Ribocco ran on strongly to challenge for the lead a furlong from the finish and take second place, beaten two and a half lengths by the favourite Royal Palace. Later in the month Ribocco started favourite for the Irish Derby at the Curragh in front of a 60,000 crowd which included the visiting Jackie Kennedy. He produced a strong finish to overtake Sucaryl inside the final furlong and win by a length. At Ascot in July, Ribocco started favourite for Britain's most important weight-for-age race, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He finished third, beaten three lengths and a neck by the four-year-olds Busted and Salvo.
Ribocco was then aimed at the third leg of British Triple Crown series, the St Leger at Doncaster. In a prep race in August he finished third to Dart Board in the March Stakes at Goodwood. In the St Leger he started 7/2 joint favourite with the Queen's colt Hopeful Venture. Piggott sent Ribocco into the lead in the straight and he won decisively, beating Hopeful Venture by one and a half lengths. In October he was sent to compete in France in that country's most prestigious race where he finished third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, beaten in a three-way photo finish by the 82/1 winner, Topyo and Salvo. In his final race, Ribocco returned to the land of his birth and finished seventh in the Washington, D.C. International.
Assessment and achievements
Ribocco's prize money for finishing third in the Arc de Triomphe took his earnings to £155,669 passing the record for a British or Irish racehorse set by Santa Claus in 1964. His place at the top of the list as he was overtaken by Royal Palace in the summer of 1968.
Retired at the end of the 1967 racing season, American Thomas Mellon Evans acquired a part interest in Ribocco for breeding purposes. He stood at stud at Evans' Buckland Farm in Virginia where he met with modest success as a sire, with the best of his progeny including Ripon (John B. Campbell Handicap). After the 1972 breeding season he was sent to a stud farm in Japan.
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- The Bloodstock breeders' annual review - British Bloodstock Agency - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- "Mrs. Julian G. Rogers". Breederscup.com. 1989-10-26. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN 0-354-08536-0.
- "Engelhard's Ribocco Wins British Stakes - Article - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. 1966-10-23. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- A jockey's life: the biography of ... - Dick Francis - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions(Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
- "Royal Palace wins 188th Derby". Edmonton Journal. 7 June 1967. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- "US horse wins Irish Derby". Lewiston Morning Tribune. 2 July 1967. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press,. ISBN 1-901570-15-0.
- "U.S.-OWNED HORSE TAKES ST. LEGER - Engelhard's Ribocco Earns $117,466 at Doncaster - Article - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. 1967-09-14. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- "Ribocco pedigree". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-05.