My Favorite 4 Geldings of All Time

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

February 5th, 2017

This isn't a list of the four greatest geldings to ever live. If I wrote a blog about the four greatest geldings, I'd definitely have both Kelso and Forego on the list. This is a list of my favorite four geldings of all time.  Check it out!
John Henry

The great John Henry remains my favorite gelding of all time. I was born in 1973. When I was at the age where my dad introduced me to horse racing, and taking me to the race track, John Henry was the greatest horse on the planet. Above, is his Jockey Club Gold Cup win from 1981. The race is an example of how amazing John Henry was. He could win on any surface, dirt or grass, and he always fired his best shot. Trained by Ron McAnally, and ridden primarily by Chris McCarron, John Henry finished his career with 39 wins and over $6.591 million in earnings.

Lava Man

Who can forget the great Lava Man? Trained by Doug O'Neil, Lava Man won two straight Santa Anita Handicaps in 2006 and 2007. He took home three straight Hollywood Gold Cups from 2005 through 2007. He also won the Pacific Classic in 2006. Since I live in Southern California, I got plenty of chances to watch Lava Man run. He never disappointed. It's well known that O'Neil turned this legendary horse from a $50,000 claimer into a multi-millionaire. How much money did Lava Man earn?  How about over $5.2 million from a record 17-8-5 out of 47 races? Not bad for a 50K investment!


I felt a connection with Cavonnier, Bob Baffert's first big three-year-old horse. At the time, I was a sophomore at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Baffert came from Nogales. He had gone to U of A. He was an alumni. I also had everything keyed to Cavonnier winning the 1996 Kentucky Derby. At first glance, I thought Baffert, jockey Chris McCarron, and the gelded son of Batonnier had pulled it off. Then, the photo came back and D. Wayne Lukas's trained Grindstone had caught Cavonnier at the wire. Tough beat, but I still love the horse.

Funny Cide

Funny Cide finished second to Empire Maker in the Wood Memorial. He turned the tables on that rival in the 2003 Kentucky Derby. Empire Maker, who was around a 2 to 1 favorite, showed up the day of the race with a slight injury. It was nothing to fret about, but, in my opinion, it's the reason that Empire Maker couldn't get to Funny Cide. The 2003 Run for the Roses was truly a case of a blue collar horse, the gelded Funny Cide, versus a regally bred horse in Empire Maker. Empire Maker was sired by Unbridled and out of Toussaud, one of the greatest brood mares in the history of thoroughbred racing. Althought Funny Cide destroyed all of my tickets in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, I had to appreciate how such a horse from humble beginning managed to take down a Juddmonte Farms' bred monster like Empire Maker even if Maker's injury gave Funny Cide the advantage.

Funny Cide won the Preakness Stakes. But, Empire Maker would get revenge over his rival in the 2003 Belmont Stakes.