By E. Gabrielle Kuenzli, University of South Carolina
This Triple Crown season, which opens on May 4 with the Kentucky Derby, horses with Latin American bloodlines are among the top favorites. Two 2019 derby contenders – Vekoma and Game Winner – are half brothers and the offspring of Candy Ride, one of Argentina’s most famous thoroughbreds. Now retired, Candy Ride shares his winning genes freely – well, for a stud fee of US$80,000 – at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky. That two top Derby contenders have their roots in Latin America is no surprise for those who study, as I do, the history of the sport. Many past Kentucky Derby champions hailed from the region – as have their trainers, owners and jockeys.