Venetian Way

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Venetian Way
SireRoyal Coinage
GrandsireEight Thirty
DamsirePapa Redbird
FoaledMarch 23, 1957[1]
CountryUnited States
BreederJohn W. Greathouse
OwnerSunny Blue Farm
TrainerVictor J. Sovinski
Record20: 7-4-3
Major wins
Washington Park Futurity (1959) Triple Crown Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1960)

Venetian Way (March 23, 1957 – October 17, 1964) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse best known for winning the 1960 Kentucky Derby.


Venetian Way was a chestnut horse bred in Kentucky by John W. Greathouse. He was purchased by Chicago, Illinois businessman Isaac Blumberg who raced him under the nom de course of Sunny Blue Farm. Venetian Way was trained by Victor J. Sovinski of Kankakee, Illinois. He was named after a street in Miami Beach.[2]

Racing career[edit]

At age two, Venetian Way made nine starts winning four times. Of his eleven starts at age three, he earned three more wins. Leading up to the 1960 U.S. Triple Crown series, Venetian Way ran second to Bally Ache in the Florida Derby. He was sent off as the third parimutuel betting choice in the Kentucky Derby behind favorite Tompion and second choice, Bally Ache.

1960 Triple Crown[edit]

In the 1960 Kentucky Derby- the "drugstore Derby"- Venetian Way beat Bally Ache. Venetian Way was a sore horse who responded admirably to butazolidin, legal in Kentucky at the time. When Venetian Way ran in the Preakness two weeks later without the help of butazolidin (pain-killing drugs are not legal in Maryland), he did not even finish in the money while the sound- legged Bally Ache won. The performance of Venetian Way with and without butazolidin and other similar cases convinced the Kentucky State Racing Commission that drugs were unfair to the horse and to the public.[3]

Ridden in the Kentucky Derby by future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack, Venetian Way remained within striking distance, then passed Bally Ache as they came around the final turn heading into the homestretch and won going away by 3½ lengths. In the ensuing 1960 Preakness Stakes, Venetian Way finished fifth to winner Bally Ache. Trainer Vic Sovinski was unhappy with how Hartack was riding the colt while training for the Belmont, and he sacked him. Venetian Way ran second behind Celtic Ash -- guided by Hartack -- in the longest of the Triple Crown races, the 1½ mile Belmont Stakes.[4]

Stud record[edit]

Retired to stud for the 1961 season, Venetian Way was not successful as a sire.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the Stephen King novel 11/22/63, Jake Epping, the novel's protagonist, claims his largest successful bet was on Venetian Way in the 1960 Kentucky Derby.[5]


Pedigree of Venetian Way (USA), chestnut stallion, 1957[1]
Royal Coinage (USA)
Eight Thirty (USA)
Pilate Friar Rock
Dinner Time High Time
Canina (USA)
Bull Dog Teddy
Plucky Liege
Coronium Pot Au Feu
Bird Call
Firefly (USA)
Papa Redbird (USA)
Balladier Black Toney
Blue Warbler
Taj Bibi Sickle
Black Queen
Minstrelette (USA)
Royal Minstrel Tetratema
Bannerette Pennant
Meetime (Family 4-m)[6]


  1. ^ a b "Venetian Way pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  2. ^ Rees, Jennie (4 February 2015). "Derby countdown | Venetian Way, 1960". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  3. ^ Morgan, Jim (21 January 1970). "A horse is a horse, of course, of course". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  4. ^ Chong, Kevin (2014). "The honest rider". Northern Dancer: The Legendary Horse That Inspired a Nation. Penguin Canada. ISBN 9780143191933.
  5. ^ King, Stephen (2016). 11/22/63: A Novel. Simon and Schuster. p. 363. ISBN 9781501120602.
  6. ^ "Magnolia - Family 4-m". Thoroughbred Bloodlines.