The Kentucky-bred Thoroughbred gelding's breeding suggested he might have potential as a racehorse. Out of a stakes-winning mare named True Mystery (Proud Truth) and by the graded stakes-winning Out of Place (Cox's Ridge), Blackfoot Mystery was well-bred enough to merit hope from his breeder John O'Meara. In fact, both his second and third dam were also stakes-placed runners.
But alas, a racing career was not to be for the tall chestnut. Blackfoot Mystery ran three times at the now-defunct Hollywood Park as a 3-year-old, never finishing better than sixth. In those three starts he beat a total of four horses and earned just $1,200.
After his racing career, Blackfoot Mystery landed at the Thoroughbred Rehab Center in California, a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited organization. Adopted by trainer Lisa Peecock, the gelding next traveled east when purchased by Kelly Prather in 2013. Prather competed Blackfoot Mystery at the three-star level before selling him to Boyd Martin's ownership group.
“I feel sorry for the jockeys who have ever ridden him,” Boyd Martin told thisishorseracing.com. The top-level rider describes Blackfoot Mystery as “the quietest Thoroughbred I've ever met.”
Now 12 years old and owned by the Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate, the gelding has found a career he can excel at: three-day eventing. At this year's Rolex event, Blackfoot Mystery was the top Thoroughbred finisher in the international event held annually at the Kentucky Horse Park. He finished a very respectable sixth in his first foray at the four-star level, the highest level offered in the sport (only three events are held at this level each year).
Blackfoot Mystery's dressage score of 52.0 had the gelding and Martin in 32nd place following the first portion of the competition, but a clean cross-country and double-clean stadium round moved him up into sixth place at the end of the competition. He also had one of the best times over a demanding, water-logged cross country course with just 3.6 time penalties.
“What a horse,” said Martin after his cross-country run. “He's very very green at this level, but I put him last (of the rider's three entries in the event) because he's the old American Thoroughbred that was bred a couple miles down the road here in Kentucky. The ground was very very tiring and holding, and that's the first time I've felt Blackfoot Mystery tired in his whole life. But he's a great horse: he just dug in, and kept jumping.”
Watch an interview with Boyd Martin about Blackfoot Mystery's cross-country run here:
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