George Washington Filly Brings Back Memories

When I saw that my co-worker Ian Tapp of TrueNicks had posted this article about the upcoming career debut of Date With Destiny, the only foal sired by the deceased European champion George Washington, I had a lot of thoughts and memories that came rushing back.

In 2007, I was at Monmouth Park when George Washington was fatally injured in the Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I). It was one of the pivotal moments where I realized how harsh and unforgiving the industry can be. Just when you think you will never witness the unspeakable, it happens before your eyes. As a journalist, I thought George Washington’s breakdown would be covered much like any other significant incident involving a prominent American horse—like Barbaro, it would be a huge deal.

But for whatever reason it wasn’t. The TV stations skimmed over it, and even several stories I read that were written by American turf writers barely mentioned it, or gave it a mere sentence of explanation.

That’s when I wrote this impassioned Final Turn article, which received mixed responses, but I was glad I could at least get my thoughts out.

Anyway, I guess the point of this blog is should be more concentrated on how much I’m anticipating the first start of Date With Destiny. While it’s possible she may go to post in a six-furlong event at Newmarket July 9, it’s more likely the 2-year-old filly will make her first start at Newbury the same day in a seven-furlong maiden event, according to trainer Richard Hannon.

The appropriately named Date With Destiny is the only foal by George Washington due to his fertility problems as a stallion. Six other mares were confirmed to be in foal to George, but only one—The Rainbow Quest mare Flawlessly--produced a live offspring.

Date With Destiny as a weanling in 2008

A champion on the racetrack at 2 and 3 in Europe, George Washington was retired and sent to stud at Coolmore in Co. Tippery, Ireland in 2007. He was returned to training the same year after failing to get many mares in foal. The son of Danehill—Bordighera, by Alysheba placed in two group I races in France prior to his ill-fated Breeders’ Cup run.

George Washington, by Trevor Jones

Date With Destiny, bred by Azienda Agricola Loreto Luciani, and foaled and raised at the Irish National Stud near Kildare, is a half sister to group III winner and millionaire producer Ombre Legere (by Double Bed).

The bay filly, who fetched 280,000 Euros as a weanling, was most recently bought for $534,677 by Peter Doyle Bloodstock at the Tattersalls October yearling sale. She is owned by prominent English horsewoman Julie Wood.

Date With Destiny at Tattersalls, photo by Tattersalls


George Washington Slideshow
George Washington George Washington

I will always remember the champagne toast that some of my European colleagues, who were visibly distraught, and myself raised to George on that fateful Breeders’ Cup night. Here’s to hoping this is the first of many races in which Date With Destiny will carry on her great sire’s legacy.

UPDATE: Date With Destiny has been confirmed for the July 9 Newbury race, which is slated to go off at 1:20 p.m. EDT. Watch it on HRTV! Read more comments from her trainer here.

 ANOTHER UPDATE: She won!! Date With Destiny broke her maiden in impressive fashion at Newbury, defeating Zanazzi by 1 1/2 lengths. Ridden by jockey Richard Hughes, Date With Destiny, the 9-2 second choice, broke slowly, but quickly recovered to lead inside the eighth pole. She completed the seven-furlong contest over good to firm ground in 1:26.73. 

I was off Friday and Saturday, so I apologize for not updating right away, but what a race!! Did anyone else watch? Where do you all think she should go next?


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