Cupid (horse)

Cupid (foaled May 19, 2013) is a retired American Thoroughbred racehorse who has won multiple graded stakes races despite several interruptions to his training. At age three, he was a leading contender for the 2016 Kentucky Derby until he developed a breathing problem and missed the race. Returning later in the year, he won the Indiana and West Virginia Derbies before finishing eighth in the Pennsylvania Derby. After an eight-month layoff, he returned in May 2017 to win the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita. He finished his career with six wins from thirteen starts and earnings of $1.7 million.

DamPretty 'n Smart
DamsireBeau Genius
FoaledMay 19, 2013[1]
CountryUnited States
BreederJKG Thoroughbreds
OwnerMichael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith
TrainerBob Baffert
Record13: 6-1-0
Major wins
Rebel Stakes (2016)
Indiana Derby (2016)
West Virginia Derby (2016)
Gold Cup at Santa Anita (2017)
Harry F. Brubaker Stakes (2017)
Last updated on November 11, 2017


Cupid is a gray horse, a color he inherited from leading sire Tapit, whose other offspring include the 2014 and 2016 Belmont Stakes winners Tonalist and Creator, and 2015 Belmont Stakes runner-up Frosted. Cupid's dam Pretty 'n Smart was a stakes-placed sprinter who had already produced three stakes winners prior to Cupid, all at sprint distances.[3] The family traces to the Hall of Fame racemare Gallorette.[4]

Cupid was purchased for $900,000 at the 2014 Keeneland Yearling Sales by a Coolmore Stud partnership consisting of Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier and Derrick Smith.[3]

He was trained by Bob Baffert, whose earlier notable horses included American Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Baffert admitted to being somewhat depressed by American Pharoah's retirement after the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic. "It's like watching your child leave. You think, 'Is he going to be OK? Is he sleeping at night?'... It was tough when he left, but we're always looking at those young 2-year-olds coming up... We always have our minds thinking about the future."[5]

Racing careerEdit

Cupid raced only once at age two, finishing fourth in a maiden special weight race at Los Alamitos Race Course on December 20, 2015.[2]

Cupid finished second in his next start at Santa Anita Park on January 9, 2016, when he was officially age three.[a] On February 7, he entered another maiden race at Santa Anita at a distance of ​1 116 miles. Despite stumbling at the start, he won by ​5 12 lengths and earned an Equibase Speed Figure of 100.[3] Baffert originally planned to enter the colt in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita but decided to scratch from that race and enter him in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 19 instead. Baffert had won five of the last six editions of the Rebel, most notably with American Pharoah to start off his Triple Crown campaign in 2015. The Rebel was considered one of the strongest early preps for the Kentucky Derby, including Suddenbreakingnews, Whitmore, Creator and Cherry Wine.[6] Cupid won in front-running fashion in a solid time of 1:43.84 for ​1 116 miles, improving his Equibase Speed Figure to 106.[3] Jockey Martin Garcia noted, "It's hard for horses to break their maiden and then step up to this kind of company with this many people around and win, but he did."[7]

The win made Cupid one of the leading contenders on the 2016 Road to the Kentucky Derby. Veteran sportswriter Steve Haskin noted the colt's rapid step up in class and felt he had room for further improvement, especially as he was a late foal.[4] Cupid was the 4-5 favorite in the $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 16 but faded to tenth after tracking the early pace.[8] Baffert later discovered that Cupid had suffered an entrapped epiglottis during the race, which obstructed the colt's breathing. Cupid underwent corrective surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital.[9]

After some time off for recovery, Cupid returned on June 11 in the Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont Park. After breaking poorly, Cupid rushed to the lead but then tired and finished last.[10]

He made his next start on July 17 in the $500,000 Indiana Derby. Once again he broke poorly, then moved up to challenge for the lead. In the stretch, the other early leaders dropped back but Cupid hung on for the win despite racing erratically down the stretch. "It was an exciting race," said Jimmy Barnes, Baffert's assistant trainer. "He was all over the place. (Jockey Rafael Bejarano) had to get him to run early and use him, but once he got into cruising gear, he looked good. Late down the lane, I don't know what it was. He was still on his left lead and leaning in – he was all over the place. But anyway, we got it done."[11]

Cupid then entered the West Virginia Derby on August 6. This time he broke well and established an early lead, opening up a four-length lead on the final turn. Despite drifting out to the center of the track during the stretch, he won comfortably in a time of 1:50.54 for ​1 18 miles.[12] He returned on September 24 in a hotly contested renewal of the Pennsylvania Derby, featuring Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator.[13] Cupid went to the early lead with Awesome Slew but then faded in the stretch and finished eighth.[14]

Baffert then gave the colt some time off, originally intending to return him in the Californian Stakes on April 22, 2017. However, Cupid cut himself an hour before the race and had to be scratched.[15] He finally made his return in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 27 after a 35-week layoff. It was also the colt's first time racing at a distance of ​1 14 miles, but Baffert had not been concerned. "I learned a lot from (Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham) about bringing them off a layoff," he said. "If they're good enough, they can take it."[16] Cupid rated in fourth behind the early leaders, then swept to the lead in the stretch to win by ​3 14 lengths. "We took the back roads with Cupid last year and made over a million dollars," said Baffert. "Coolmore has been great and they kept him in training. They asked me if I thought he'd get better and I thought he should. We freshened him up and here we are."[17]

After the Gold Cup, Cupid became ill and was not ready to race again until August 23 in the Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at Del Mar. Baffert was looking for an easy race to prepare the colt for the Awesome Again Stakes and Breeders' Cup later in the year. Instead, Cupid was almost caught at the finish line by Curlin Rules, who had been easily passed by Cupid turning into the stretch but then made a late rally to close the gap to three-quarters of a length. "It looked like he barely won, but we were hoping we would win and not get a really hard, hard race," said Baffert. "He came back pretty well, so this will set him up."[18]

On September 30, Cupid went off as the 6-5 favorite in the Awesome Again Stakes. He was keen to run early and was carried four wide into the first turn. He pressed the pace down the backstretch then again went wide on the final turn as he moved to the lead. From behind him, Mubtaahij also started to move and gradually pulled away to win by ​1 12 lengths. Cupid flattened in the stretch and finished fourth.[19]

Because Baffert already had four horses in the Breeders' Cup Classic, he elected to enter Cupid in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile instead.[20] Cupid was jostled at the start and settled in mid-pack down the backstretch. He tried to close ground around the final turn but tired and finished last.[21]


Cupid was retired following the Classic to stand at Ashford Stud, the North American division of Coolmore. His stud fee for 2018 was set at $12,500.[22]


Pedigree of Cupid (USA), gray colt, 2013[1]
Tapit (USA)
A.P. Indy Seattle Slew
Weekend Surprise
Preach Mr. Prospector
Tap Your Heels
Unbridled Fappiano
Gana Facil
Ruby Slippers Nijinsky (CAN)
Moon Glitter
Pretty 'n Smart
Beau Genius
Bold Ruckus Boldnesian
Raise a Ruckus
Royal Colleen Viceregal
Own Colleen
Charge d'Affaires
Vice Regent Northern Dancer
Victoria Regina
Office Affair Secretariat
Mlle. Liebe (Family: 17-b)[23][24]

Cupid is inbred 4 × 5 to Mr. Prospector, meaning Mr. Prospector appears once in the fourth generation of Cupid's pedigree and once in the fifth generation. Cupid is also inbred 5 × 4 to Secretariat, 5 × 5 to Raise a Native, 5 × 4 × 5 to Northern Dancer, 4 × 5 to Victoria Regina and 5 × 5 to Bold Ruler.


  1. ^ a b "Pedigree of Cupid". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Cupid (2013) Profile". Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Curry, Mike. "Making the Grade: Cupid". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b Haskin, Steve. "Derby Dozen - March 22, 2016 - Presented by Shadwell Farm". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Derby-Focused Baffert is Over 'Pharoah' Blues". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Field Taking Shape for Rebel Stakes". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Baffert Claims Another Rebel Win With Cupid". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  8. ^ Cherwa, John (16 April 2016). "Creator wins Arkansas Derby as favorite Cupid finishes badly beaten 10th". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  9. ^ Privman, Jay. "Baffert removes Cupid from Kentucky Derby trail". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Economic Model Rolls Home in Easy Goer". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Cupid Guts Out Victory in Indiana Derby". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Well-Traveled Cupid Takes West Virginia Derby". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Nyquist, Exaggerator arrive for clash in Pennsylvania Derby". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Connect outshines big-name stars in Pennsylvania Derby". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  15. ^ Wilson, Art. "Cupid wins Gold Cup at Santa Anita after 35-week layoff". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  16. ^ Harris, Beth. "Love it: 7-1 shot Cupid gives Baffert 6th Gold Cup victory". SFGate. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Cupid Returns From Layoff to Win Gold Cup". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Cupid Holds Off Curlin Rules to Win Brubaker". Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Blinkers, Baffert Vault Mubtaahij To Winner's Circle In Awesome Again". Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Baffert: 'Pretty Strong' Classic Contingent Have 'All Got To Get By Gun Runner'". Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Chart of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile". Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Ashford Stud Sets Fees for Practical Joke, Cupid". Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Cupid Horse Pedigree". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Biddy - Family 17-b". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  1. ^ All Thoroughbred's foaled in North America have an official birth date of January 1. Cupid was foaled on May 19, 2013,[2] making him a few months younger than most of his rivals who were foaled earlier in the year.