Winner of the 1953 Kentucky Derby
Foaled at Hermitage Farm in 1950, Dark Star raced inconsistently in the first months of his three-year-old season, making him no favorite at the 1953 Kentucky Derby. His odds closed at 25/1.
The smart money was on undefeated Native Dancer with 3/5 odds. But Dark Star broke into the lead at the first turn and showed heart. Native Dancer and Dark Star raced neck-and-neck in the final straight to the finish. In what’s often cited as the biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history, Dark Star won by a nose—the only horse to ever defeat the future hall-of-famer Native Dancer.
Winner of the 2005 & 2006 Dubai Al Maktoum Challenge Round II
Hermitage Farm welcomed Jack Sullivan on April 1, 2001, out of Belong to Me and Devil’s Bag. The handsome bay chestnut was sold as a yearling and ran first on turf before trainer Gerard Butler thought him better suited to dirt. One of only two thoroughbreds to claim back-to-back wins at the Al Maktoum Challenge in Dubai, Jack Sullivan won nine stakes races and placed six times, with earnings over $1.1 million.
Is It True
Winner of 1988 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Born on May 12, 1986, Is It True came by 1980 Champion Sire Raja Baba out of Roman Rockette. Hermitage Farm prepared him for the July Keeneland yearling sale, where the dark bay caught the eye of legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Racing as a two-year-old, Is It True complied a record of 2-2-1. Staying true to a Hermitage Farm tradition established by Dark Star, Is It True’s defeat of Hall of Fame inductee Easy Goer at the muddy Breeder’s Cup in 1988 is often called the biggest upset in that event’s history.
Winner of 2011 Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes
Bred at Hermitage Farm, multiple graded-stakes winner C.S. Silk was in the famous first crop of foals sired by Medaglia d’Oro. A dark bay filly who loved to run on soft grass turf, she started twenty-six races and earned over $780,000 before retiring to Shadai Farm in Japan.
Winner of Multiple G1 Stakes and Champion 3YO Male
Now retired, West Coast has an impressive racing career. He was named the Champion Three-Year-Old Male of 2017 after wins in the Travers Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby, plus a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. At age four, he finished second in the Pegasus World Cup, Dubai World Cup and Awesome Again Stakes. He holds a record of six wins from 13 starts and earnings of almost $6M.
Winner of Multiple G1 Stakes and Champion Sprinter
Now retired, Mitole has been touted as the fastest horse to ever come off Hermitage Farm ground. With seven stakes wins on his resume, including four Grade 1 stakes, Mitole earned the title Champion Sprinter in 2019. As a four year old, he was victorious in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Forego Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap, and Churchill Downs S., with earnings of over $3M.
Most Expensive Yearling Ever Sold at Public Auction
In 1985, Hermitage Farm sold Seattle Dancer for $13.1 million dollars. To date, Seattle Dancer holds the record for the most expensive yearling sold at Keeneland.
2016-2018 USEF Horse of the Year
Endorro has been part of Team Hermitage’s pair since the latter part of 2015, competing in the National Pair Horse Championship in 2016 and 2017. Endorro also competed in all three phases of the 2017 Pair Horse World Driving Championships and in the 2019 Pair Horse World Driving Championships, placing sixth out of eighty-three competitors in the world.
2015, 2017, and 2018 USEF Horse of the Year
Favory Franky (aka Franky) has been a member of Team Hermitage since 2013. Franky’s specialty is Cones, often coming to competitions to provide a solid partner for the final phase. He competed in the 2015 and 2017 National Pair Horse Championships, and partnered with Endorro for the Cones phase of the 2017 Pair Horse World Driving Championships.
2015 USEF Horse of the Year
Favory Nori (aka Nikki) competed alongside Napoly at the 2011 Pair Horse World Driving Championships for Team Hungary and finished in 12th place. In 2015, Nikki competed with Connoly and Franky to win the Pair Horse National Championships. She is now retired and spends her days turned out with her best friend Napoly.
USA Team Winner
Steve Wilson is a four-time USEF Advanced Pairs Combined Driving National Champion. Wilson has competed and trained in Combined Driving for over a decade, winning his first National Championship in 2015. Steve was selected as a team member to represent the United States in the FEI World Driving Championship for Pair of Horses in 2017 and 2019, the only U.S. competitor to compete at both events. Steve is the founder of the Hermitage Classic, which hosts the USEF Pair Horse Driving National Championship. Wilson is the co-owner of Hermitage Farm with his wife Laura Lee Brown.
USA Team Winner
Jacob Arnold is the 2018 USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving Reserve National Champion. Two-time FEI World Driving Championship Single Horse team member in 2014 and 2018, and two-time FEI World Driving Championship for Pairs of Horses in 2015 and 2019. He was the only driving competitor in history to win the USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year Award in 2011 and currently is in the USEF Combined Driving Program for Elite Athletes. He recently competed alongside Steve Wilson at the 2019 World Championships for Pairs of Horses in Drebkau, Germany with the generous support of Hermitage Farm, Steve Wilson, and Laura Lee Brown. Jacob is Hermitage Farm’s Head Trainer & Driving Manager.