Because of a Horse; The Story of Invasor

The following is a tribute to Invasor, who will be inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame on Friday and who holds a special place in my heart.

The strains of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” blared over the public address system, as jockey Carlos Mendez, aboard Gran Premio José Pedro Ramírez winner Rock Ascot, stood up in the saddle, flung his arms up in victory, and tossed rose petals from the victory blanket in the air. The massive crowd at Maroñas Racetrack let out a mighty roar to salute the victors.

With the music still resounding throughout the track, the winning connections—owner, breeder, trainer, and jockey and their friends and families—were driven in antique automobiles to the makeshift winner’s podium on the track in front of the grandstand. Alongside the podium was a mounted military band in decorative uniforms and cascos (headgear) playing drums, bugles, tubas, and other instruments.

With the fans still applauding and taking pictures, the winners were presented their trophies. Standing along the rail, my wife and daughter and I were engulfed by the cheers, the music, and the on-track festivities. It was at this point that my daughter said, “All that’s missing are fireworks.”

Sure enough, seconds later, an explosion of fireworks from behind the podium lit up the darkening blue sky that had already become illuminated by the lights of the racetrack. It was a moment that was both spectacular and surreal—a fitting conclusion to a magical day that saw skydivers rain down on the racetrack carrying banners and flags. Several years ago, one skydiver actually landed on the back of a horse…on purpose. The spectacle of Ramírez day was obvious. The surrealism was due in part to the fact that we were in Uruguay, a country whose location I had to look up on a map.

Our trip, at the invitation of the Uruguayan Breeders’ Association, included visits to the Riviera-like resort of Punta del Este, where the rich and famous congregate each summer; the amazing Casapueblo, where nature and art meet to form a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, and images nestled along Uruguay’s tranquil coastline; and the historic, charming town of Colonia, where you can see spectacular sunsets and the lights from Buenos Aires across the Rio del la Plata that separates Uruguay and Argentina. Our home base, the capital city of Montevideo, has miles and miles of beaches that come alive each day with people jogging, walking, riding bicycles, and strolling with their dogs along the palm tree-lined Rambla.

It was at some point during the trip that it hit me. Everything I was experiencing was due to one horse. It was through my articles on Invasor and the contacts I had made in Uruguay that all of this was made possible.

I met so many warm, loving people who have become friends, and it was great reuniting with Invasor’s former co-owner Pablo Hernandez. After sharing a number of e-mails with Pablo prior to the Breeders’ Cup, I finally met him in the winner’s circle following Invasor’s victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he embraced me like a lifelong friend. A melting pot of humanity had converged on the Churchill Downs winner's circle, where Americans and Arabs and South Americans hugged and kissed each other. And from out of the bedlam, came the chant of "Een-vah-SOR! Een-vah-SOR!" with a delirious and disheveled Pablo, accompanied by eight of his friends from Uruguay, proudly holding the Uruguayan flag over his head. Joining in the celebration were media members from Argentina, where Invasor was bred.

"This is unbelievable," Pablo shouted above the din. "This is the greatest experience of my life, and always will be. Invasor is still in the hearts of everyone in Uruguay. We are a small, modest country, and we need an idol. We have no idol in football and no idol in politics. Invasor is the idol of Uruguay. He is the 'Horse of the Rio de la Plata."

Also cheering wildly for Invasor were thousands of racing fans who had flocked to Maronas Racetrack in Uruguay, where Invasor made the first five starts of his career, including a sweep of the Triple Crown, before being sold to Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum. It was pure hysteria at the simulcast facilities at Maronas and San Isidro Race Course in Argentina.

It was by sheer accident and good fortune that Pablo came to own Invasor, in partnership with brothers Juan Luis and Luis Alberto Vio Bado. He had flown to Argentina and was scheduled to take a small plane to La Biznaga Farm, where he was going to look at horses. But the plane had engine failure and the trip was canceled. A friend, Miguel Ezcurra, from Bullrich Auctioneers, took them by car to visit some smaller farms near Buenos Aires. After looking at approximately 80 colts and fillies at several farms they went to Haras Clausan in Areco, a province of Buenos Aires, and that's where they first laid eyes on a young Invasor. It was love at first sight. Pablo said it was as if he had been “hit with Cupid’s bow.”

Alessandro Miserocchi, owner of Haras Clausan, which has since been re-named Haras Santa Ines, was asking $25,000 for the horse. Hernandez and the Vio Bados offered $18,000, and both parties eventually settled for $20,000.

After Invasor swept the Uruguayan Triple Crown in brilliant fashion, Pablo and his partners were offered $1.5 million for the horse by Sheikh Hamdan. That was a great deal of money in Uruguay, considering Invasor's total earnings there were $114,070. It was hoped to run him in the country's big championship race, the Gran Premio Internacional Jose Pedro Ramirez, for 3-year-olds and up, but Shadwell's offer was too lucrative to turn down, although one of the Vio Bado brothers was reluctant to sell.

"I am 42 years old and have faced many challenges and dilemmas in my life," Pablo explained. "But surely, the uncertainty of whether or not to sell Invasor gave me many sleepless nights. To be one of the co-owners of a Triple Crown winner is something that rarely happens to a Thoroughbred owner, especially in Uruguay. After so many decades of not having a Triple Crown winner, to suddenly realize that your horse has become a national hero to the enthusiastic Uruguayan racing fans is very shocking."

In December 2005, Hernandez was contacted by Shadwell, wanting to buy Invasor and fly him to Dubai for the UAE Derby. Pablo had to make a quick decision and was advised by friends that it was something he couldn’t pass up.

”It was not only about the money,” Pablo said. “Here in Uruguay there isn't much possibility to develop a great champion, and I wanted to give him the best opportunity to prove that he was a great horse. We would never have been able to go with him to the United States to run; it is too expensive for us. So, I was backed into a corner. I had no other choice.

"I have thousands of images of Invasor in my memory--some that make me weep and others that bring me much happiness. But the bitter memory is the day I had to say farewell to him after traveling with him on the van to the airport. It was a silent farewell, because inside our souls, none of us wanted Invasor leaving our lives. Every time he ran at Maronas, the fans filled the racetrack to watch him run and to try to touch him and take pictures with him. They even tried to get strands of his hair as a souvenir.

"The day he departed reminded me of that day years ago when I, like many Uruguayans, emigrated to Europe. I had graduated from dentistry school and went to Spain for a post-graduate in dental surgery. I remember how my grandmother cried silently the day I left. I can understand how she felt, because I felt the same way the day I had to say goodbye to Invasor. It was like saying goodbye to a son you were never going to see again. Although the plane left very early in the morning, a lot of people showed up at the airport to say their goodbyes to Invasor."

But that was not the last time Pablo would see Invasor. He traveled to Dubai to watch him run in the UAE Derby, and, of course, he was at Churchill Downs to witness his horse and the pride of Uruguay become an international superstar and Horse of the Year on two continents. When Invasor added the Dubai World Cup the following year, he was crowned Horse of the World.

Ironically, when Invasor first arrived at Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn at Palm Meadows and stepped off the van, the first thought from everyone in the barn was, “What kind of allowance conditions can we find for him?” He was very light-framed and had a thick coat of hair. He was given UltraGard and GastroGard and the best of everything, including the best quality hay.

Ten months and four consecutive grade I victories later, Invasor was Horse of the Year, winner of North America’s richest race, and reunited in victory with his former owner. Also sharing in the glory was Diego Mitagstein, the pedigree consultant for Turf Diario in Argentina.

"I can't speak--my heart," he said. "Bayakoa won the Distaff twice and Paseana won the Distaff, but this is the Classic at Churchill Downs, the home of the biggest race in America."

For Pablo, it would be a joyous trip back to Montevideo. But there still were moments of reflection as he looked back at the incredible saga of Invasor.

"My partners are still sad," he said. "They are two old unmarried brothers who have lost the reason to go to the racetrack every weekend. I was melancholy, too, in the beginning, but we have made it possible for Invasor to become famous in the best place in the world. He's gone, but he remains a part of my life, and he will be mine in my heart forever."

The story I had been following since July had come to a glorious conclusion. Pablo insisted I be in their group photo. Standing there with the Uruguayan flag proudly held high was an experience never to be forgotten, which brings us back to our trip to Uruguay.

In addition to staying in five-star hotels and invited to lunch at some of the country’s most prominent breeding farms, I gave a 90-minute talk on Invasor to the media and racing officials at Maroñas, presented the trophy for one of the big stakes on Ramirez day, was interviewed by ESPN South America, had every want and need catered to, and, simply put, was treated like a rock star—all because of a horse.

Racing, fortunately, still has a hard-core fan base in the United States, and we still idolize our equine heroes. But Thoroughbred racing here is going through perhaps the roughest time in its history on many fronts. So it was a joy to witness the passion for the horse and the sport 6,000 miles away in a small country most Americans know little or nothing about. When racing ceased for 10 years in Uruguay because of economic reasons, and there was no pari-mutuel wagering, the owners still raced their horses just for the sport of it. Although located in a poor neighborhood, Maronas, with its white cement walls, is looked upon as a shrine by the local residents, who would never desecrate it in any way. Inside those white walls is one of the most well-kept, picturesque, and modern racetracks you’ll see anywhere, complete with a high-tech simulcasting facility and even supervised play areas for younger and older children. As you walk through the ornate main entrance and into the beautiful lobby, there in front of you is a bust of Invasor.

It is apparent by now that Invasor was a very special horse to me and my family. During the colt’s career in the United States, I bonded with him as I’ve never bonded with any horse, thanks in part to his unique antics and personality, especially during the spring of 2007 before his untimely injury that ended his career. Every Saturday after arriving on the Belmont backstretch, my first stop was always Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn, where Joan and I would meet up with my friend Dianne, who spoiled Invasor with mints. As soon as she entered the barn, he knew what was coming. Invasor liked attention and liked being petted, but he also would bite. Somehow, and I may be guilty of anthropomorphism and a touch of romanticism, but he figured out how to avoid one in order to get the other.

As we approached his stall, all we had to do was point to his hay rack. Invasor would reach over and grab a large chunk of hay. After stuffing as much as he could in his mouth, he would freeze in that position, with his mouth still wide open and locked onto the hay rack. He then would turn his eye toward us. As long as you’d pet him he’d remain in that odd position without moving. Once you stopped stroking him, he’d wait a few seconds and either let go of the hay or rip out a hunk and drop it on the floor, indicating he had no desire to eat the hay and was using it almost as a pacifier.

It seems presumptuous to attempt to interpret a horse’s thought process, so I’ll just conclude by saying this was the most bizarre, almost human-like, behavior I’ve seen from a horse. But we’re all guilty of humanizing animals to a degree, like when we say a horse is posing for photographs or he or she loves the camera. Although we know a horse has absolutely no concept of what a camera is or what it does other than it makes a clicking noise, we still say it.

From a personal standpoint, I never could have imagined how far the bond I formed with Invasor would take me. Because of this remarkable animal, I met many people in a faraway land that I now consider close friends. I discovered a new culture, new food, and a new, vibrant world of Thoroughbred racing that re-kindled the feelings I had for the sport back in the late 1960s, when all seemed so pure and innocent.

But most of all I discovered myself. Cloistered away in my home/office every day, I was reluctant to embark on such an adventure, and it was only after my wife’s constant urging that I finally capitulated. So, my self-discovery was due in great part to her.

I still think of Uruguay often and cannot remove that one thought from my head: it was all because of a horse. Perhaps those are words everyone in the industry should remember.


Leave a Comment:

Bill Rinker

Thanks for another great article Steve. Behind every great man there is a great woman. The closer you look the more you feel, and the beauty of it all abounds. I very much enjoy and look forward to the black and white hard edge of scientific reasoning. Like wise I think one of our greatest assets is keeping an open mind, and in reality you can't have one with out the other. The Aug. 30th edition of Blood-Horse shows Verrazano on the cover, do you know if he was pin-fired?  

07 Aug 2013 10:18 PM

Een-vah-SOR! Een-vah-SOR!!!  Truly one of the best dirt runners to ever look through a bridle. Nice article Steve.

Invasor doesnt seem to be doing very well as a sire but breeders should get smart and get hold of his daughters ...his greatness will very likely resurface up as a broodmare sire.

07 Aug 2013 10:21 PM
Tiz Herself

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful Steve! I loved Invasor and it was unfortunate that he was injured -- he had already conquered the world, but I could only imagine what else he would have been able to do. I still follow the little Invasors...

In any photo which I have seen Invasor, whether it be in a workout, a portrait, racing, his ears always seemed to be pricked and looking forward (as did Zenyatta's)... I never tire of watching the 2006 Classic where he defeated Bernardini, Giacomo, Flower Alley, Premium Tap (anyone know where he is?), Brother Derek, Lava Man, Lawyer Ron, George Washington, Suave, Sun King, David Junior, Perfect Drift...

Thanks for the recount of this beautiful gallant horse, Steve! (Can you imagine if he and Curlin had met in the 2007 Classic?)

07 Aug 2013 10:55 PM

A true rags to riches (no offense to that wonderful mare)story. Thank you for reminding us about this very exceptional horse.

08 Aug 2013 12:43 AM

Cracking article, really enjoyed it.  Thanks.

08 Aug 2013 6:06 AM

Thanks Steve, Invasor is one of the greatest runners I have seen since I have been following racing. He did everything right. I'm happy he is being installed in the Hall of Fame as soon as he was eligible.  

Pat Diers-

08 Aug 2013 6:27 AM

Don't tell me you took no pictures?

08 Aug 2013 6:28 AM

I was very focused on the recently concluded Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. I was hoping to see even one yearling sired by Invasor. Sadly I waited in vain.

Invasor won the 2005 TC in Uruguay. He also won the 2006 BCC and the 2007 Dubai WC. His racing record reflects one defeat in 12 starts with career earnings of $7.8M. He was voted HOY on three different continents and rated as one of the top horses in the world in 2006.

He contested four 10F races and won all. The Dubai WC and Pimlico Special he won were contested at 9.5F, the distance of the Preakness. He won the Gran Premio Nacional-Uruguayan Derby contested at to 12.5F. A distance that exceeds that of the Belmont. His record of distances at which he has won spans the US Triple Crown.

The recently concluded Triple Crown saw many of the participants in each leg stumbling home like drunken sailors gasping for air. None were sired by Invasor.

In 2011 Invasor bred only 38 mares in 2011. There is no doubt that many of those mares are owned by Shadwell Farms and Sheikh Hamdan.

If ever there was a horse that deserves support at stud, it has to be Invasor. There are not many stallions standing in the US that has either his record or heart.

In a country has been literally  starved for it 12th Triple Crown winner, is there any conceivable reason why breeders are not supporting a stallion that has won on three continents and at all three distances comprising the Triple Crown?

NB: Congrats bred 205 mares in 2011. I guess the breeding industry needs to be congratulated.

08 Aug 2013 9:54 AM
Steve Haskin

Coldfacts, well said. I couldnt agree with you more. I hate to say it but American breeders dont deserve to breed a Triple Crown winner. It's a disgrace what the Ky. breeders let happen to Invasor, just like they let it happen with Smarty Jones.

Caasandra, those were my video days. I have great video of him with his hay rack etc, but cant believe I didnt take any still photographs.

Bill, Verrazano had shin problems at 2, like many babies do. The pin fire marks are old and have no bearing on anything.

08 Aug 2013 10:33 AM

TWO continents, not 3. South America is the SOUTHERN part of the AMERICAN CONTINENT  :)  Nice post Coldfacts, totally agreed.

08 Aug 2013 11:08 AM
Karen in Texas

Congratulations to Invasor on his induction into the Hall of Fame, and thank you, Steve, for this wonderful remembrance. Invasor is, as Ranagulzion says, one of the best dirt runners ever. We are so fortunate to have had him grace our American tracks.

08 Aug 2013 11:08 AM
A Horsey Canuck

Steve, thank you so much for recreating the greatness that was Invasor. Thank you also for your most personal insights. You are such a wordsmith with such a great heart. I am grateful that I'm able to live and read all of the stuff that you write about our racing world.

08 Aug 2013 11:18 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Thank you for a great story and for continuing to "rekindle" a love for our favorite sport.  You are the best.

08 Aug 2013 11:33 AM

Coldfacts, the breeders could care less about classic distance thoroughbreds. That has been going on for a lot of years. IMO, you could pretty much parallel the downtrend of this industry to the shift in breeding from classic distance thoroughbreds to mostly shorter distances, flash in the pan frail sprinters. Personal Ensign is now a 9 furlongs race. They should just change the distances of all these races to 6 furlongs. That is about all you see at Saratoga today. Sprint dirt races and with more casinos being proposed north, imo there is no way this industry will be able to compete.

08 Aug 2013 12:00 PM

Excellent article, Steve!!  I love how you were able to create such a vivid portrait of your experience in Uruguay and share more about Invasor with us.  I could not agree more with Coldfacts comment about Invasor's lack of support from breeders and your response as well.  It is like Invasor is being overlooked because he isn't from some of the same stock we see breeding year after year after year, fragile horses who can't make very many starts.  Oh, yeah, well they are fast so send them off to the breeding shed early.  I'm hoping they will give him time to see how his young'uns develop - maybe his progeny are on southern hemisphere time.  I hope you are able to be at his induction ceremony on Friday.  Thank you for sharing with us, Steve.  You're the best!!

08 Aug 2013 12:53 PM
Arts and Letters

"It's a disgrace what the Ky. breeders let happen to Invasor, just like they let it happen with Smarty Jones."

And they let Sunday Silence get away.  And Silver Charm.  :(

08 Aug 2013 1:21 PM


I heard your interview on the radio this morning with Steve Byk.  When you recounted the hay rack story mentioning you had video of it I was hoping the video would be available.  Is there any way you can post it?  

Wholeheartedly agree with your words regarding American Breeders not deserving a triple crown winner.  Sunday Silence is another one that got away and I hope that I'll Have Another gets the same kind of success.  

Bull Hancock recognized the need for bringing in bloodlines from other countries, Blenheim and Princequillo.  We would not have had Secretariat or Seattle Slew without Princequillo or Nasrullah.  Breeders are taking to Quality Road but snubbed Smarty Jones, unless I am mistaken.  Yet both are by Elusive Quality, correct?

Another issue,

Everytime I hear or read discussion about the triple crown, the distances, the spacing between races.  All you need to use as a comparison is to look at what the NYRA has done to what comprised the filly triple crown, Acorn, Mother Goose, and CCA Oaks for an example.  I cannot think of any other racetrack or collection of racetracks that has so effectively obliterated the standing of historical races such as the Woodward, Jockey Club Gold Cup, the second and third leg of the handicap triple crown Suburban and Brooklyn Handicaps, not to mention the two year old races, Hopeful, Spinaway, Belmont Futurity, and Matron.  Obviously I am dating myself since some of those no longer exist.

08 Aug 2013 1:22 PM
Blum Gone

Great article, as always Steve.

In memory of Monzante, the TB racehorse, Cost of Freedom, winner of nearly $1 million, ran yesterday at Santa Rosa race track in a $8,000 claiming race. Another horse, Speed Rouser, age 11, also ran in the same race. The horses ran 3rd to last and 2nd to last respectively.

Their breeder is Harris Farms of Coalinga, CA. Could any readers who are pro-active and CARE, respectfully send an e-mail to them and ask why these two geldings have not been retired. Harris has acres of land upon which to put them, plenty of money, and a webpage that will re-home them should Harris choose not to keep them.

08 Aug 2013 1:27 PM
Blum Gone

Porfido, age 11, great, great grandson of Dr. Fager, is entered on Saturday, Aug. 10, Canterbury, Race 6, 4 pm. $7,500 claimer.

08 Aug 2013 1:28 PM

Thank you, Steve, for the reminder about racing in its pure simplicity. People with love and pride for their horses racing them against one another for the joy of the sport. No business, no greed, no entrepreneurial schemes. Just the horses and their people. Beautiful story.

08 Aug 2013 1:46 PM
steve from st louis

Steve, American breeders apparently can only dream nine furlongs at a time. They have spent the last 35 years breeding milers and speed-crazy bleeders. When 2-year-olds in training sales showcase and highlight juveniles who can get a furlong in 10 seconds, it's hard to improve the breed. Outcrosses like Invasor and Frankel will never find favor in the States. We'd much rather breed a Uncle Mo filly out of a Bellamy Road mare.

08 Aug 2013 1:55 PM

Blum Gone:  I googled the two horses and then the farm and sent them an email to: don't know if it will help but it's worth a try.  Cost of Freedom is a former graded stakes winner now running in claimers (still running fairly well they may argue) but Speed Rouser has only won 2 races from his last 28 starts over the past 5 years (winning only 8 of 69 lifetime).  I think they have earned retirement!!!

08 Aug 2013 5:35 PM
A Horsey Canuck

C'mon People, lets save horses like Speed Rouser, Cost of Freedom and Porfido. Don't let them end up like Monzante. Someone call Michael at Old Friends and ask if he can help.

08 Aug 2013 5:43 PM
Tiz Herself

Also congratulate Lure, McDynamo (long live Dynaformer!) and Tuscalee (whom I had not known of, but was a treat to read about what he accomplished) who also made it to the Hall of Fame.

I hope to one day get to Claiborne to meet Lure!

Read an article today that Kinsale King has been retired from racing and is going to retrain as stable pony - best of luck to Kinsale!

08 Aug 2013 9:17 PM

Just knocked out my letter to Harris Farms. There's a link on their website of horses for adoption so they must be good people!

09 Aug 2013 1:59 PM
Needler in Virginia

JorgeG, I'm gonna have to strongly disagree: it IS 3 continents. And if you want to get REALLY technical, North and South America are the man-made Panama Canal, sure...but still divided. The only two continents that might be considered one are Europe and Asia since they are connected by far more land than an isthmus. France teaches that Antarctica isn't a continent at all, along with the "single" American continent theory, so they get only 5 continents. Me? I'm sticking with the 7 I was taught about throughout my years of schooling and that covers 4 years of college and 2 post grad. Besides all that school time, I get to argue for 7 because I'm a grumpy old broad!  So there, mi hijo, you see it's like arguing with your grandmother.....try doing THAT someday!

Lovely article, Steve, as always but DAMN! I wish you had still pix of Invasor and the hay rack.

Cheers to and safe trips to everyone.

09 Aug 2013 2:50 PM
Needler in Virginia

HorseyCanuck, Michael at Old Friends might have to say "no" just because he's getting requests EVERY DAY to take horses. Even Michael can't take 'em all.....especially since Old Friends was created for a specific endangered subset: stallions, all of whom require separate paddocks and thus a LOT of land. And, yes, I know Michael has mares and geldings but the fact remains NO ONE wants a pensioned grumpy old stallion that requires loads of land. Wish I could be more cheerful, but my question STILL remains.... what the hell are we going to do with all these horses? Maybe breed fewer? NAH, that would require responsible breeding programs, and God knows we need to breed those stallions multiple times a day.

And to whomever asked the question about why Invasor isn't a "flavor of the month" stallion, not only is Steve right in his reply, but also Invasor;s "South American" pedigree is "suspect". REALLY? Have ANY of these people seen him run?????????

More cheers and safe trips.

09 Aug 2013 3:08 PM
Fran Loszynski

Any racehorse bred in this country should retire to the bluegrass just my feeling. Congratulations to Calvin Borel I always said Calvin you are a 1930's jockey . If  Seabiscuit didn't have Red Pollard he would have had you.  The way you brought Mine That Bird home will go down in history.  You are an awesome jockey. Keep riding!

10 Aug 2013 12:39 AM
Jean in Chicago

Steve, your story of Invasor and his hayrack reminded me of many of your Secretariat pictures of him with a stick in his mouth.  Maybe he wanted to play fetch or tug of war!

Needler in VA:  I don't get it either.  I'm so tired of horses bred and trained for shorter distances and therefore classic races being shortened.  And maybe retired geldings as companions would make some of those stallions a little less grumpy.

10 Aug 2013 12:55 PM
Golden Gate

Thank you Steve for writing about the mighty Invasor. When I worked as a volunteer at the World Equestrian Games the entire Argentinian team went by to see him at Shadwell.

I have bre4d two of my mares to Shadwell stallions and I bred them to hopefully create two turn and greater horses, so there are some American breeder's breeding for longer races even though we are in the minority. At the time Invasor's stud fee was too high for me as a small breeder(even though now it is  affordable)or I definitely would have bred one to him.

My friend in Uruguay asked me to go by and see him especially for her and I did so twice. He is greatly beloved. Hopefully this great article Steve wrote and bering inducted into the Hall of Fame will get more mares to him in the upcoming years.

By the way, my two 2013 foals by Mustanfar and by Albertus Maximus are gorgeous.

10 Aug 2013 1:44 PM
Bethany Loftis

Invasor was truly a blessing to so many people. Thank you, Steve, for putting so eloquently the way he touched people's lives in so many places. He brought so many people together from all walks of life and opened doors for people that would have otherwise remained shut. You said it best. It was all because of a horse. Congratulations Invasor on your induction to the Hall of Fame! You've earned it!

12 Aug 2013 12:48 AM

Invasor’s sire Candy Stripes was bred in the USA. However,his dam line to its 4th generation is entirely Argentine. His pedigree make up might not be appealing to US breeder. Is this enough to shun him?

Kentucky Derby and Dubai WC winner Animal Kingdom was sired by Leriodesanimaux who is also a son of Candy Stripes. Animal Kingdom’s dam line to its 4th generation is entirely German. His breeding rights were purchased for substantial price despite his turf pedigree and he will be standing in the US  and Australia. Will he suffer a similar faith to Invasor?

The US bred Candy Stripes was sired by Blushing Groom who goes back to Nasrullah. Yes, the same Nasrullah that sired Bold Ruler who gave us Secretariat. Bold Ruler line stallions sired 7 out of ten Derby winners in the seventies.

The line was dormant since Swale won the 1984 Derby. Animal Kingdom broke the dry spell and he was followed by Orb in 2013.

Stallions that go back to Nasrullah once ruled the stage now dominated by the Mr. Prospector sire line. It appears this stallion line is on its way back.

Leriodesanimaux a brilliant son of Candy Stripe got the ball rolling with Animal Kingdom. Malibu Moon followed with Orb. Neither of these stallions have the race record of Invasor another brilliant son of Candy Stripes.  

While I recognize that there is no guarantee that a great race horse will become a great stallion. I am of the opinion that its deserves and should be afforded every opportunity to either succeed or fail.

Hail Invasor the great!

13 Aug 2013 9:36 AM
Abigail Anderson

Hi Steve: I think you know that I just love this fellow and it was a few years ago that I discovered, right here on Hangin' With Haskin, that you loved him too. I was pretty shocked by the toned-down press Invasor got in North America, as though being a Triple Crown winner in Uruguay was nothing much. But, then again, Nijinsky never got the accolades he deserved over here either. It's so sad, because in an increasingly international environment,  bloodlines like Invasor's could offer breeders some interesting outcrosses and possibilities, it seems to me. I so agree with your comment above, Steve, about how neither this great horse nor Smarty Jones are getting the respect they deserve.

About the hay rack pose: he was "talking" to you guys, for sure. I am a great fan of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who earned a PHd in animal behaviour and has written some brilliant books about animal behaviour. Her theory is that animals' minds think in pictures, just as the autistic do. And her theory is well-respected by animal behaviorists & scientists worldwide.

Applying "visual thinking" to Invasor's behaviour suggests that he was telling you that he associated that pose with asking to be petted. How he learned that association is, of course, anybody's guess. My current dog, Daisy Devine (yup -- named after the hard-working mare) does something very similar. She freezes in a certain pose, 3 times a day, to tell me that she's ready to go out for her walk. And when she wants some SERIOUS petting, she stands with her head lowered or, if she can manage it, presses her forehead against mine.

Last but not least: I agree with those above who'd like to see the video(s). Is that a possibility?

13 Aug 2013 1:11 PM

probably they don't breed to him because of his enormous stud fee at the time and with a bad percentage of stake winners,why would breeders want to breed to him now at 4000. He bred all the sheiks mares and nothing. Its a strange game and sometimes doesn't make any since but you cant hide the facts that he so far is a failure at stud.

13 Aug 2013 3:01 PM
Jean in Chicago


 I too am a great fan of Dr. Grandin.  It seems to me that animals spend an amazing amount of time training their humans.  Sometimes we are just too dumb to learn what they are saying.

13 Aug 2013 3:39 PM


I my memory is correct when Invasor entered the breeding shed  his stud fee was $40K.

Bernardini whom he defeated in the BCC entered the breeding shed at a stud fee $100K

Curlin entered at $40k as well.

A stud fee of $40K is not expensive for a racehorse with Invasor's record.

Are mares owns by Shadwell Farm  the right cross for Invasor?

Our Emblem was incognito before he sired War Emblem. Boundary bred less that 30 mares the year he sired Big Brown.

Some Stallions need to be bred to 100 mares comprising different lines to successful.

Invasor will eventually sire a classic horse. stallions covering small books are more likely to sire champions.

I would encourage breeders to avoid the like of Giants Causeway, Tapit, Candy Ride and all other stallions that breed close to 200 mares per year.  

Give Invasor a chance as he is not overbred and must have a good one in him.

13 Aug 2013 4:44 PM

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