04/28/2006 12:00AM

Derby losers can still find glory

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Winning the Kentucky Derby is likely on the top of every owner's wish list. This is especially true in the current era, where the careers of top horses are usually measured in months, rather than years.

But while getting beat in the Louisville classic may be a big disappointment to a horse's connections at the time, many of these losers have gone on to Hall of Fame careers.

When Secretariat galloped to his record-breaking performance in the 99th Derby in 1973, almost no attention was given to the horse who finished fourth - Forego.

The late-developing gelding owned by the Lazy F Ranch of Martha Gerry went on to be voted Horse of the Year the following three seasons. Today, Forego ranks with Exterminator and Kelso as the greatest geldings of the 20th century.

More recently, Holy Bull in 1994 and Point Given in 2001 turned in inexplicably poor performances on the first Saturday in May, only to be voted Horse of the Year that same season.

Test your knowledge of Derby losers who went on to remarkable careers.

1. The name of Aristides will always be recalled because he was the winner of the first Kentucky Derby in 1875. The following year, Vagrant won the second running of the Louisville classic.

While both of these horses had some success at ages 2 and 3, neither went on to memorable careers on the track.

But a colt who finished fifth in the first Derby and a gelding who finished fourth in the second Derby are today enshrined in racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Name them.

2. In 1922, Walter Vosburgh wrote in "Racing in America, 1866-1921," that this horse "was probably the greatest favorite for the Kentucky Derby that ever went down to defeat; and his defeat caused a panic in every city throughout the country where there was betting."

The horse was such a favorite for the fourth Derby in 1878 that bookmakers at the track offered only two betting interest to win - him and the rest of the field. Name the horse.

3. When this bay colt sprung from the barrier for the 54th Kentucky Derby in 1928, no one expected him to win. He was sent off at odds of 38-1 and finished 11th in the record 22-horse field.

His owner and breeder had mixed emotions after the race, because he had also bred the Derby winner, Reigh Count, owned by Mrs. John D. Hertz.

Before this horse's career was over, he had been champion three seasons. He retired from the racetrack the world's all-time leading money earner. Name the horse and his owner.

4. A California-bred had not won the Kentucky Derby in more than a quarter-century, but racing fans in the Golden State felt confident that 1950 was their year.

With victories in the San Felipe Handicap and Santa Anita Derby, followed by an easy win in a Keeneland allowance race, this colt was sent off the 8-5 favorite in the 76th Derby. After leading early, he faded to ninth. He went on to sire one of the great horses in racing history. Name him.

5. Eddie Arcaro always took the blame for this horse's defeat as the 8-5 favorite in the Kentucky Derby. "I discouraged and confused him by fighting him when he wanted to run," the Hall of Fame jockey said.

Despite the colt's fourth-place finish in the Derby, he bounced back to win the Preakness and went on to be voted champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year. He was champion sprinter the following season.

The colt, one of 99 stakes winners produced by the imported Nasrullah, was inducted into racing's Hall of Fame in 1973. Name him.

HISTORY CHALLENGE ANSWERS

1. Ten Broeck, named for famed breeder Richard Ten Broeck, did not race at age 2 in 1874 and was erratic in his early races the following season, including the Kentucky Derby, where he finished fifth.

But, after losing his first start at age 4 - again to the first Derby winner Aristides - Ten Broeck won 18 of his final 19 starts over three seasons. He set numerous track and American records, winning at distances from one mile to four miles.

In his last 19 starts, Ten Broeck's only defeat came at the hands of the gelding Parole, in a famous three-horse race at Pimlico that today is featured in a large rendering on the outside of the clubhouse wall at the historic Maryland track.

In the prior season, Parole had finished fourth in the second Kentucky Derby as the second betting choice. Parole raced through age 12, winning stakes in England and America, and was champion at ages 2, 4, and 5.

Ten Broeck was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982; Parole in 1984.

2. Himyar was so highly thought of that his owner slept in the stall with the horse the night before the Kentucky Derby of 1878.

This was the first year that four parimutuel machines joined bookmakers at the track that would become known as Churchill Downs later in the century.

According to the great Walter Vosburgh, the other eight jockeys in the Derby ganged up to keep Himyar pinned in and blocked throughout the race. Day Star, likely the second choice, won by a length and paid $30.60 for a $5 win ticket.

Himyar raced through age 6 and was undefeated as a 4-year-old. However, his greatest success came at stud, where he was ranked in the top five sires for five seasons in the 1890's. His best son, Domino, among the first Hall of Fame inductees in 1955, established one of most celebrated sire lines in racing history.

3. Willis Sharpe Kilmer, who had won the Kentucky Derby with the great Exterminator 10 years earlier, sent out Sun Beau in the 1928 Kentucky Derby. At the finish, the colt split the field.

Renowned racing historian John Hervey (who wrote under the pen name "Salvator" for Daily Racing Form) said that Sun Beau was a "fall horse, who for most of his career was ineffective until September."

Sun Beau won 33 of 74 starts over five seasons, and while he never led the money list during any of those individual years, he retired with $376,744 - more than any horse had ever earned.

He became the world's top money winner on Aug. 1, 1931, and held the crown until Seabiscuit surpassed him on March 2, 1940.

4. Movie mogul Louis B. Mayer bred Your Host at his Perris, Calif., farm and sold him as a juvenile in 1949 to William Goetz for $20,000.

While Your Host failed in Louisville as the favorite on the first Saturday in May, he returned more than $342,000 to Goetz for his investment.

Saved from a near-fatal breakdown in 1951, Your Host sired 16 stakes winners from 139 foals, including one of California's top runners and sires, Windy Sands, and the immortal Kelso, five-time Horse of the Year and the world's former leading money earner.

5. Never sound as a racehorse, and constantly battling a chronic rheumatic condition, Bold Ruler, a foal of 1954, nevertheless won 23 of 33 starts against what many feel was one of the most outstanding groups of horses ever assembled. He won nine times carrying 130-136 pounds.

Bold Ruler's crowning achievement on the track was a victory over Hall of Famers Gallant Man and Round Table in the 1957 Trenton Handicap at Garden State Park.

At stud, Bold Ruler led the general sire list eight times. His offspring included 11 champions, the best being super-horse Secretariat.