As impetuous as he could be with the New York Yankees, George
Steinbrenner was downright patient and low-key when it came to
He wasn't as successful, though.
While the Yankees won seven World Series championships, 11
pennants and 16 division titles under his ownership, Steinbrenner
never realized his dream of winning the Kentucky Derby. He made six
attempts at capturing America's most famous horse race, but none of
his horses finished better than fifth.
Steinbrenner died Tuesday after a heart attack in Tampa, Fla. He
He was a longtime breeder and thoroughbred owner whose
operations were based in the horse country of Ocala, Fla. He raced
as Kinsman Stable, once overseen by his daughter Jessica.
His breeding operation Kinsman Stud covered 750 acres and was
named for the street Steinbrenner's ancestors lived on in
He became interested in racing in the 1970s and entered the
Kentucky Derby for the first time in 1977, when Steve's Friend
It would be nearly a decade before Steinbrenner tried again on
the first Saturday in May with Eternal Prince, who was 12th in
He had two runners who finished ninth in the 1990s: Diligence
(1996) and Concerto (1997). Blue Burner ran 11th in 2002.
Steinbrenner's best hope came in the 2005 Derby, when Bellamy
Road went into the race as the morning line favorite and finished
The colt was one of five in the race trained by Hall of Famer
Nick Zito. His other entries didn't win, either; instead, 50-1 shot
Giacomo upset the field.
Steinbrenner paid $87,000 for Bellamy Road, who went on to
finish second in the Travers that year.
Although they failed in the Kentucky Derby, Majestic Warrior won
the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga in 2007; Eternal Prince won
the 1985 Wood Memorial and Gotham Stakes; and Steve's Friend won
the 1977 Hollywood Derby. Bellamy Road's sire, Concerto, won the
1997 Jim Beam and Whirlaway stakes.
Steinbrenner was a player in the Breeders' Cup, horse racing's
richest event. His best finish was second with Acceptable in the
Diligence ran fifth in the 1995 Juvenile. Dream Supreme was
sixth in the 2000 Sprint and Spinning Round was fifth in the
Juvenile Fillies in 1991.
"He was a devoted owner and breeder and philanthropist for more
than 40 years, and his Kinsman Farm near Ocala, Fla., produced
numerous stakes winners," said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of
the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. "His many
contributions to our sport are greatly appreciated, and he will be
Steinbrenner was part of a group that purchased Florida Downs in
1980. Now known as Tampa Bay Downs, he sold his interest later in
the decade. He had ownership interests in Balmoral and Maywood
harness racing tracks near Chicago in 1987. He was a past president
of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association.
Joe Torre, one of the few Yankees managers not fired by
Steinbrenner, tried to win the Derby this year. But the horse he
co-owned, Homeboykris, finished 16th.
"I will always remember George Steinbrenner as a passionate
man, a tough boss, a true visionary, a great humanitarian and a
dear friend," Torre said in a statement. "I will be forever
grateful that he trusted me with his Yankees for 12 years."