Updated on 09/16/2011 8:49AM

Spend a Buck dies in Brazil


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Spend a Buck, the 1985 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year, died at Brazil's Haras Bage do Sul on Nov. 24 of anaphylactic shock after an allergic reaction to penicillin. Spend a Buck was 20.

Spend a Buck, who began his stud career at Lane's End in Versailles, Ky., stood the 2000 breeding season at Jay Adcock's Red River Farms in Coushatta, La., before being sold last year to Antonio Lemgruber, a Brazilian breeder.

South American bloodstock agent Jose De Camargo, whose Kentucky-based agency arranged Spend a Buck's sale to Brazil, said the stallion was injected with penicillin as part of treatment for a cut above his eye.

Spend a Buck, a son of Buckaroo and the Speak John mare Belle de Jour, was best known in North America as the Kentucky Derby winner who was lured off the Triple Crown trail by the promise of a $2 million bonus if he could win the Jersey Derby at Garden State Park. The Garden State bonus was promised to any horse who could win the Cherry Hill Mile and Garden State Stakes, ship to Kentucky to take the Derby, then return to capture the Jersey Derby at the end of May. That schedule precluded participation in the Preakness, and Spend a Buck's owner, Dennis Diaz, opted to follow the money. He skipped the Preakness and the Belmont but got the $2 million bonus when Spend a Buck won the Jersey Derby. Concerned that the competitive bonus scheme would continue to damage the Preakness and Belmont fields, the Triple Crown tracks established their own bonus for horses winning the Triple Crown.

His detour through New Jersey may have been controversial, but Spend a Buck's talent was undeniable. Trained by Cam Gambolati, Spend a Buck came to prominence as a 2-year-old with a victory in the Grade 1 Arlington-Washington Futurity and a second in the Grade 1 Young America Stakes. He ended his juvenile season with a third in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Hollywood Park.

The potential he had shown at 2 came to full bloom in 1985. After his Jersey Derby victory that season, Spend a Buck took on older males in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, finishing second to Skip Trial. He closed his championship season, and his career, with a record-setting score over Carr de Naskra in the Grade 1 Monmouth Handicap. His track-record time for nine furlongs was 1:46.80. Spend a Buck also set a pair of track records at Garden State, flying nine furlongs in 1:45.80 and a mile in 1:35.40.

Voted champion 3-year-old colt and Horse of the Year in 1985, Spend a Buck retired with a record of 15-10-3-2 and $4,220,689 in earnings.

Spend a Buck was less brilliant as a sire, but he proved capable of getting high-quality runners. The best of those in North America were Grade 1-winning millionaire Antespend, and Grade 3 winners No Spend No Glow, Adhocracy, Pie in Your Eye, Dust Bucket, Cheerful Spree, Table Limit, and Worth Avenue.

In South America, where Spend a Buck had been shuttling since 1997, he sired Peruvian champion Black Coffey and such Brazilian Grade 1 winners as Clausen Export and Hard Buck.