|Breeder||Edward B. Benjamin|
King Ranch (late 1971)
Buddy Hirsch (1972)
|Canonero II is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Dixieland II by Pretendre. He was born around 1968 in the United States, and was bred by Edward B. Benjamin.|
Kentucky Derby (1971)|
Preakness Stakes (1971)
Stymie Handicap (1972)
|U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1971)|
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on September 27, 2006|
Bred by Edward B. Benjamin in Greensboro, North Carolina, the bay colt was born with a noticeably crooked foreleg, and as such was considered to have no future in racing. He was sold as a yearling for a mere $1,200 at the Keeneland Sales. Purchased by Edgar Caibett, the horse was shipped to his native Venezuela where it earned an undistinguished record racing as a two-year-old.
Because of his breeding, Canonero II qualified for the Kentucky Derby, the most prestigious event in United States thoroughbred horse racing. Trained by Juan Arias and ridden by jockey, Gustavo Avila, in the spring of 1971, the owner shipped them and the horse to Louisville, Kentucky for the big race. There, Canonero II was dismissed as a horse that did not belong in such elite company and was listed at the bottom of the pack of the betting odds as part of a six-horse pool.
In the Derby's 20-horse field, Canonero II shocked everyone by coming from 18th place to storm past the competition, easily winning the race by 3 3/4 lengths. The most astonishing upset in the great race's history was deemed nothing more than a fluke by many of horse racing's experts who predicted that Canonero II would never win another race. However, in the Preakness Stakes, the second of the Triple Crown races, Canonero II put an end to any doubts about his greatness by winning the race and setting a new track-record time in the process.
The third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes held near New York City, was run before the largest crowd in its history. The stands were filled with members of the city's large Latino community, there to cheer on their new hero. However, a foot infection that had bothered the horse for several days, saw Canonero II take the race lead only to struggle across the finishing line in 4th place. Despite this loss, he was named the winner of the 1971 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Three-Year-Old Male Horse.
Sold to King Ranch, Hall of Fame trainer Buddy Hirsch nursed Canonero II back to health. The following year in the Stymie Handicap at Belmont Park, the horse put on the best performance of his career by setting a track record while defeating the great three-year-old champion Riva Ridge.
Retired to stud at the end of 1972, Canonero II died in 1981.
|Doutelle||Prince Chevalier||Prince Rose|
|Above Board||Straight Deal|
|Martial Air||Man o' War|
- Profile of Canonero II (Spanish language)