Statue of Sea Hero at Saratoga Park
|Owner||Rokeby Stables. Silks: Dark Gray, Yellow Braid, Sleeves and Cap.|
American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1993)
|Life-size statue at Saratoga Race Course
Sea Hero Road, Frankfort, Kentucky
Sea Hero Court in Napa, California
Bronze statue at National Sporting Library
|Last updated on December 9, 2007|
Sea Hero (foaled March 4, 1990 in Virginia) is an American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse best known for winning the 1993 Kentucky Derby and Travers Stakes. As of 2016[update], Sea Hero is the oldest living winner of the Kentucky Derby.
Sea Hero was bred in Virginia by Paul Mellon and raced for Mellon's Rokeby Stables. Sea Hero was by Polish Navy, who was a good racehorse but otherwise a disappointment as a sire. Sea Hero's dam was Glowing Tribute, who descended from one of the most distinguished thoroughbred families in North America – that of La Troienne. Glowing Tribute was named Kentucky Broodmare of the Year in 1993 after she had produced not only Sea Hero but graded stakes winners Hero's Honor, Wild Applause and Glowing Honor.
In 1992, Mellon, then aged 84, started dispersing most of his stock but kept Sea Hero, who was in training with MacKenzie Miller. Sea Hero was considered somewhat temperamental and had a habit of getting his tongue over the bit, forcing Miller to experiment with different equipment.
Sea Hero made his racing debut on July 13, 2002 in a maiden special weight race at Belmont Park, in which he finished fourth. He did not win his first race until September 7 in what was his fourth start, but then won his next two starts, including the Grade I Champagne Stakes. He finished the year with a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
At the start of his three-year-old campaign, Sea Hero was winless in his first three starts. His best result was a fourth-place finish in the Bluegrass Stakes to Prairie Bayou, who then became the lukewarm favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Sea Hero entered the Derby as a 13-1 longshot and pulled off the upset by 2 1⁄2 lengths over Prairie Bayou. He won the 1993 Kentucky Derby as an almost 13:1 longshot. It marked the first Derby win for jockey Jerry Bailey and for 71-year-old trainer Miller. It was also the first Derby win for Mellon, who became the only person to ever win the Kentucky Derby, the Epsom Derby, and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, having captured the latter two with Mill Reef in 1971.
Following his Derby win, Sea Hero finished a disappointing fifth in the Preakness and seventh in the Belmont, but still earned a $1 million bonus for leading the Triple Crown points standings after Prairie Bayou's breakdown in the Belmont. He then finished fourth in the Jim Dandy Stakes, thus entering the Travers with a three race losing streak.
In the $1 million Travers Stakes, Sea Hero displayed an "uncanny sense of timing" by reverting to his form in the Kentucky Derby. He tracked behind the early pace then angled wide to get running room. In the stretch, he sprinted to the lead for a commanding two length win over Kissin Kris, with Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair in fourth. Sea Hero became the first Derby winner to also win the Travers since Shut Out in 1942. It was the fifth Travers win for Rokeby Stable.
Sea Hero then shipped to Woodbine racetrack for the Molson Export Million, where he finished third to Canadian Triple Crown winner Peteski. He finished second in the Eclipse Award balloting for Champion three-year-old to Prairie Bayou, who had been more consistent in his brief career.
Retirement and honors
Sea Hero was retired to stud at Lane's End Farm in 1995 but was considered a disappointment. In 1999, he was sold to Karacabey Pension Stud in Izmit, Turkey where he had better results, becoming the seventh all-time leading sire in Turkey by progeny earnings. He was a top 10 stallion for many years, ranking as high as #3 in 2007. He is the sire of fifteen stakes winners and has also proved a successful broodmare sire.
A bronze statue of Sea Hero stands in the paddock at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 2015, another statue was installed at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, Virginia. Sea Hero Road in Frankfort, Kentucky is named for the horse, as is Sea Hero Court in Napa, California.
|Northern Dancer (CAN)||Nearctic|
|Pas de Nom||Admiral's Voyage|
|Tatan||The Yuvaraj (GB)|
|Hail to Reason||Turn-to|
|Big Hurry (family: 1-x)|
Sea Hero is inbred 4 x 4 to War Admiral, meaning War Admiral appears twice in the fourth generation of Sea Hero's pedigree. He is also inbred 5 x 5 to La Troienne through her daughters Businesslike and Big Hurry.
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- Hunter, Avalyn. "Polish Navy (horse)". American Classic Pedigrees. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- Beauchamp, Juliette (4 March 2016). "This Week in Horse History - Sea Hero". Horse Talk Magazine. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- Rees, Jennie. "Derby countdown - Sea Hero, 1993". courier-journal.com. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- Durso, Joseph (22 August 1993). "Sea Hero Turns the Travers Into a Rerun of Kentucky Derby". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- Christine, Bill (20 September 1993). "Peteski Wins Again, in Woodbine Million : Horse racing: He defeats Sea Hero, Colonial Affair, further muddying the 3-year-old picture.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- Durso, Joseph (21 January 1994). "Eclipse Winners: Now They're Off for Horse of the Year". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- MacDonald, Michele. "Victory Gallop: A Star In Growing Turkish Industry". cs.bloodhorse.com. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Sea Hero's Pedigree". www.equineline.com. Retrieved 5 August 2016.