Spend a Buck

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Spend A Buck
DamBelle de Jour
DamsireSpeak John
CountryUnited States
BreederC. Rowe Harper, Irish Hill Farm
OwnerHunter Farm (Dennis Diaz)
TrainerCam Gambolati
Record15: 10–3–2
Major wins
Arlington-Washington Futurity Stakes (1984)
Cherry Hill Mile Stakes (1985)
Garden State Stakes (1985)
Jersey Derby (1985)
Monmouth Handicap (1985)

U.S. Triple Crown series:
Kentucky Derby (1985)

U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1985)
United States Horse of the Year (1985)
Calder Race Course Hall of Fame (1995)
Spend a Buck Stakes at Monmouth Park
Spend a Buck Handicap at Calder Race Course
Last updated on February 8, 2007

Spend a Buck (May 15, 1982 in western Kentucky – November 24, 2002, in Brazil) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 1985 Kentucky Derby.


Spend a Buck was sired by Buckaroo[1] out of the dam Belle de Jour. Through his son Einstein (BRZ), he is now the primary source for the Buckpasser sire line in the United States.[2] Spend a Buck is inbred 5x5 to Prince Rose and is line bred 5x8x8x6 to Man o' War, while his sire Buckaroo is inbred 4x5 to Blue Larkspur and La Troienne.[3]

Racing career[edit]

On May 4, 1985, Spend a Buck won the Kentucky Derby by 5-3/4 lengths over Stephan's Odyssey under jockey Angel Cordero Jr. His 2:00 1/5 time is the fourth fastest as of 2020. He paid $10.20, $5.40, and $3.40. It was his trainer Cam Gambolati's first attempt to win the Derby, a feat not matched again until 2003 when Barclay Tagg saddled Funny Cide for his win.

Earlier in the season, Spend a Buck had won two races at the newly reopened Garden State Park Racetrack in Cherry Hill, New Jersey: the Cherry Hill Mile Stakes on April 6 and the Garden State Stakes on April 20. Before the season began, Garden State Park owner Robert Brennan had put up a $2-million bonus to the horse that won the two April preparatory races, the Kentucky Derby, and the May 27 Jersey Derby, Garden State's signature race.

Spend a Buck's owner, Dennis Diaz, opted to skip the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes and thus trade Spend a Buck's chance to win the Triple Crown for a shot at the bonus. Cordero, Spend a Buck's regular jockey, was committed to another race that day, so Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. rode Spend a Buck at Garden State. Spend a Buck won the Jersey Derby by a neck over eventual Belmont winner Creme Fraiche, capturing a $2.6-million prize, the then largest single purse in American racing history. That record stood for 19 years, until Smarty Jones won the 2004 Kentucky Derby and a bonus similar to Brennan's.

Because Spend a Buck skipped the last two legs of the Triple Crown, the Triple Crown races put up a bonus of their own to encourage participation in the series.

Honors and awards[edit]

Spend a Buck was voted the 1985 Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year-Old Colt.

Several races were named for Spend a Buck, including the Spend a Buck Stakes at Monmouth Park and the Grade III Spend a Buck Handicap at Calder Race Course.

Stud career[edit]

Spend a Buck had a successful post-racing career standing stud,[4] siring 27 stakes winners with earnings of over $16 million. He died on November 24, 2002, at Haras Bage do Sul in Brazil following an anaphylactic reaction to penicillin.[5]


Pedigree of Spend a Buck
Buckpasser Tom Fool Menow
Busanda War Admiral
Stepping High No Robbery Swaps
Bebop II Prince Bio
Belle de Jour
Speak John Prince John Princequillo
Not Afraid
Nuit de Folies Tornado
Folle Nuit
Battle Dress Jaipur Nasrullah
Rare Perfume
Armorial Battlefield


  1. ^ "Spend a Buck". Equibase Co LLC. 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  2. ^ Peters, Anne (June 20, 2014). "Buckpasser and his influence on the breed". The Blood-Horse. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  3. ^ Avalyn Hunter (1 January 2003). American Classic Pedigrees (1914-2002). Eclipse Press. pp. 472–. ISBN 978-1-58150-095-0. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  4. ^ http://www.pedigreepost.com/archives/SpendaBuckJoseOliveira.html
  5. ^ "- Thoroughbred Times".

External links[edit]