Hard Spun

5/10/04 b c
Danzig – Turkish Tryst, by Turkoman

G1 winner of the King’s Bishop
Runner-up in the 2007 Kentucky Derby
Runner-up in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
2007 3-Year-Old Eclipse finalist.
Sold privately for stud duty at the conclusion of his racing career .
Currently standing at stud at Darley, Lexington, KY
Hard Spun’s Stallion Page

From 2005 to current, Fox Hill Farm has had a run of top horses. First, there was Rockport Harbor, then there was Round Pond. And then, there was Hard Spun.

Hard Spun debuted on Oct. 22, 2006 in a 5 1/2 furlong maiden special weight at Delaware Park. Leading from start to finish, Hard Spun won by an easy 8 3/4 lengths. Hard Spun reeled off the Port Penn and Pennsylvania Nursery stakes in similar front-running and lengths clear fashion to finish up his 2-year-old year undefeated in 3 starts.

Hard Spun made his 3-year-old debut in the G3 LeComte on Jan. 13, 2007 at the Fair Grounds. He again disposed of his rivals easily, winning by 6 1/2 lengths. From there, it was on to the Southwest S. at Oaklawn Park. For the first time, Hard Spun didn’t easily make the lead, and finished a disappointing fourth. Trainer Larry Jones was convinced that Hard Spun was spinning his wheels over the Oaklawn surface and decided to send Hard Spun to Turfway Park’s Lane’s End Stakes for his final Kentucky Derby tuneup. Hard Spun loved the Polytrack surface and rolled to a 3 1/4 length victory.

With 6 weeks to go before the Derby, Hard Spun was sent to Keeneland where he’d train up to the race in relative peace and calm. At the back of Larry’s mind, though, was the fact that Hard Spun didn’t care for the Oaklawn surface, a surface thought to be similar to Churchill’s. So in the early morning hours of April 12, Larry put Hard Spun in a trailer and they made the 1 1/2 hour drive to Churchill. After a little time to settle in and then stretch his legs, Hard Spun worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.20, prompting a huge smile on Larry’s face as he realized that Hard Spun loved the surface at Churchill Downs.

Hard Spun returned to Churchill Downs for his final work, six days before the big race. With jockey Mario Pino aboard, Hard Spun blazed 5 furlongs in 57.53 seconds. The backstretch was immediately abuzz — it was the fastest 5-furlong pre-Derby work in decades. Many wrote off the chances of Hard Spun in the Derby, thinking he just left his race on the track. But Larry told anyone who would listen that he wasn’t concerned — that Hard Spun had done it easily.

Hard Spun blasted out of the Derby gate and led through extremely fast fractions of :46.1, 1:11, and 1:37. Turning for home, Hard Spun was well in the lead and it didn’t appear that anyone was making up any ground. But the Churchill-loving Street Sense found a perfect rail path from the back of the field to shoot through and take aim at Hard Spun. Street Sense collared Hard Spun nearing the wire and won by 3 1/4 lengths. Hard Spun finished in second, well clear of the rest of the 20-horse field.

Hard Spun continued to provide excitement through the rest of the Triple Crown for Fox Hill Farm and his fans. He finished 3rd to Curlin and Street Sense in the Preakness, and then 4th in the Belmont to Rags to Riches, Curlin, and Tiago. After a freshening, he reappeared for the Haskell, where he finished 2nd to Any Given Saturday but ahead of Preakness victor Curlin.

It was decided that Hard Spun would be cut back to the sprint distance of 7-furlongs in the G1 King’s Bishop on Aug. 25 at Saratoga. Hard Spun ran head to head with First Defence through fractions of :21.4, :44.1, and 1:08.3. He wasn’t to be denied, and pulled away nearing the wire for a 1 1/2 length victory. The racing world was impressed.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic was just 2 races away. Larry announced that Hard Spun would prep in the Kentucky Cup Classic (G2) at Turfway Park. Street Sense was also entered into the race but his connections hadn’t yet said where he’d go for his prep. They ultimately decided on the Kentucky Cup Classic, and the stage was set for the first matchup in decades between the winner and second-place Derby finishers.

Pundits expected Hard Spun to use his ferocious speed to quickly outfoot Street Sense. Instead, jockey Mario Pino slowed the pace down, leaving Street Sense no choice but to go with Hard Spun from the very start. As they turned for home, Hard Spun outsprinted Street Sense to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

Breeders’ Cup day arrived, and the weather was miserable. Rains of monsoon proportion wreaked havoc with the track over several straight days, but it was supposed to clear up that afternoon. The day turned out much better than anyone could’ve anticipated that morning. As the bugle called the horses to post for the Classic, it was an exciting but bittersweet moment. Hard Spun’s breeding rights had been sold to Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley at Jonabell, and the Classic was to be Hard Spun’s last race. As he’d done in every other race in his career, he made us proud.

Bounding from the gate, Lawyer Ron was expected to keep Hard Spun honest. Instead, Hard Spun ran him off his feet. After a mile in a scorching 1:35.4, Hard Spun turned for home well clear of the rest of the field and just had to hold on. Like a repeat of the Derby, he’d finish well clear of the entire field — except for one. This time it was Preakness and Jockey Club Gold Cup Curlin.

Hard Spun retired to Darley at Jonabell to stand his first year at stud in 2008. Dan Pride of Darley illustrated Hard Spun’s popularity by saying that the colt “has a cult following, particularly among breeders.” Expectations are quite high for Hard Spun as a sire, being by sire of sires Danzig and having great speed that he could carry a classic distance. Fox Hill Farm looks forward to running some of his sons and daughters over the coming years.

Hard Spun Race Record

YearAgeStarts1st2nd3rdEarnings
Total13731$2,673,470
2007310431$2,572,500
200623300$100,970

10/27/07: 2nd, 10f, Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), $1,000,000
09/29/07: 1st, 9f, Kentucky Cup Classic (G2), $280,000
08/25/07: 1st, 7f, King’s Bishop (G1), $150,000
08/05/07: 2nd, 9f, Haskell (G1), $200,000
06/09/07: 4th, 12f, Belmont Stakes (G1), $60,000
05/19/07: 3rd, 9.5f, Preakness Stakes (G1), $110,000
05/05/07: 2nd, 10f, Kentucky Derby (G1), $400,000
03/24/07: 1st, 9f, Lane’s End S. (G2), $300,000
02/19/07: 4th, 1m, Southwest S., $12,500
01/13/07: 1st, 1m, LaComte S. (G3), $60,000
12/18/06: 1st, 7f, PA Nursery S., $34,240
11/14/06: 1st, 6f, Port Penn S., $39,140
10/22/06: 1st, 5.5f, mdn, $27,600

Hard Spun Pedigree

Hard Spun, b c May 10, 2004DanzigNorthern DancerNearctic
Natalma
Pas de NomAdmiral's Voyage
Petitioner
Turkish TrystTurkomanAlydar
Taba
DarbyvailRoberto
Luiana