Kentucky Derby contender profile: Thousand Words

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

February 3rd, 2020

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

And Thousand Words could be worth a few million dollars following his professional victory in the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis (G3) on Feb. 1 at Santa Anita.

The Florida-bred colt has long been a highly regarded prospect. A son of 2009 Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Pioneerof the Nile (acclaimed as the sire of 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah), Thousand Words was produced from the Pomeroy mare Pomeroys Pistol, a classy sprinter who won three graded stakes races.

With this top-notch pedigree, Thousand Words was purchased for $1 million as a yearling by the partnership of Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm. Under the care of five-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, Thousand Words has shown lots of racing potential, earned back a fair share of his lofty purchase price, and emerged as a key contender for the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

While Thousand Words is clearly talented, grit and determination are the traits he’s demonstrated more than speed and brilliance. He can be effective rallying from off the pace, as he showed when he battled to a narrow triumph in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race Oct. 26. He can win a dogfight on the front end, as he proved when he defeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up Anneau d’Or by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).


Just as importantly, Thousand Words can race inside and behind rivals and still produce a big finish, as he demonstrated in the 1 1/16-mile Robert B. Lewis. Some horses are uncomfortable racing in traffic, but Thousand Words acted as though doing so was the most natural thing in the world. He bided his time and split horses in the homestretch to edge clear to win by three-quarters of a length.

Thousand Words might not be keen to win by daylight, but he always finds a way to get the job done. His willingness to win by as little as possible, without undo effort, suggests he might be capable of even better when challenged by faster rivals.

“He’s got that big long stride,” Baffert said. “You could tell about the last 50 yards he was really getting going. He came back he wasn’t even tired, so that is a good sign.”

It’s safe to say Baffert has another talented Derby contender in his barn.

More Kentucky Derby Contender Profiles: