Countdown to the Cup: And Then Came Blame

Whether you’re a Quality Road fan or not, you had to feel good for Blame and Claiborne Farm, who combined not only to win the historic Whitney Handicap (gr. I), but turn back the clock to a time when homebreds ruled the sport – horses that were bred tough and ran tough.

In Blame, Claiborne has bred a near-perfect racing machine, a gritty, in-your-face type of horse who gets dirt kicked in his face and keeps coming at you – a strong-boned horse, sound, kind, and professional, who doesn’t let anything bother him. Watching him run is like going through a time portal back to the 1950s and ‘60s.

In the winner’s circle following Blame’s tenacious victory over 1-2 favorite Quality Road, trainer Al Stall’s younger brother, Andrew, hugged Claiborne Farm president Seth Hancock and basically said all there was to say in three words: “He’s a beast.”

He said later, “This horse just wins. He comes back all dirty, while Quality Road is all pretty and clean. But that’s him.”

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