Horse and pony - site index.Horse chat message boards.Horse breeds, types and breeding gallery.Search for horse information on Equiworld.Horse information and equestrian news horse and pony magazine.Horse web links.  

Tim Capps, Author Of Spectacular Bid Biography Reflects On Horse's Career

LEXINGTON, KY— Timothy T. Capps, author of the book “Spectacular Bid,” a biography about renowned race horse Spectacular Bid in the Thoroughbred Legends’ series of fine books published by Eclipse Press, reflected on the horse’s career and offered his thoughts on Spectacular Bid’s place among modern great racehorses. Spectacular Bid died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday at Dr. Jonathan Davis' Milfer Farm near Unadilla, N.Y.

In Spectacular Bid, Capps details the heart-breaking Triple Crown run of Spectacular Bid who could have achieved racing immortality were it not for a loose safety pin in his stall. Spectacular Bid had already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and looked to be a sure thing in the Belmont Stakes until he stepped on the fateful safety pin prior to the race and ended up third.

But Spectacular Bid's career was more than just a missed Triple Crown. He had versatile speed that allowed him to run from anywhere in the field, whether on the lead or far back, and he used his speed to overpower his rivals time and again.

Capps, executive vice president of the Maryland Jockey Club and former editor and publisher of the Midatlantic Thoroughbred, commented, “Had he won the Triple Crown, I believe his reputation would be on par with that of Secretariat, Man 'o War, and Citation. Certainly, he has to be among the ten best ever in this country, and I would rate him in the top five. I know that the Timeform Millennium book ratings had him only trailing Secretariat and Citation among America's 20th century stars. I'm not a believer in ranking horses who have never faced each other or come from different eras, and once you start down that road you just keep coming up with an additional horse or two you left out.

“Having said all that, I think Spectacular Bid ranks among the best horses this country has seen. Spectacular Bid came along at the end of a decade which witnessed an extraordinary number of great racehorses, perhaps the best decade in American racing history for superstar horses, and he developed his own following in the same sense as did Seattle Slew in that he was a moderately priced yearling purchase owned by people who were not long-time household names in racing, trained by a guy heretofore known as a successful claiming trainer.

“His was not a rags-to-riches story, but was not a Tiffany story, either. He was simply so good for so long that he gained an enormous number of admirers, me among them, who recognized that his talent was enormous, as was his will to compete; he was sort of a blue-collar super horse, one who earned every ounce of the recognition he received. Whatever the expectations were for him, he exceeded them, repeatedly.

Capps continued, “Finally, it didn't hurt that he was gray; for some reason, grays, perhaps because there aren't all that many of them, seem to appeal to a certain segment of the racing population. He was an irresistible force, a horse who simply didn't have bad race in his system, one who needed no excuses and left little behind him to puzzle over.

“He could run fast, far, on any surface, and was a genuine a competitor at the end of his career as he was at the beginning. If all those attributes don't make a racehorse great, then the term needs to rethought.”

For more information on Spectacular Bid, read Spectacular Bid and Thoroughbred Champions: Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century, published by Eclipse Press, available through Exclusively Equine at or by calling 1-800-582-5604. For more information on Eclipse Press visit


Find out more, visit the links page or find answers on the message board.