Irish Derby Winner St. Jovite Still ‘Means the World’ To Owner-Breeder Payson

by | 03.23.2015 | 2:08pm
St. Jovite

The Curragh will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its signature race, the Group 1 Irish Derby, on June 27. During the course of festivities, officials will hold a special tribute to St. Jovite, who captured the 1992 Irish Derby by 12 lengths in the record time of 2:25.60.

No Irish Derby winner has come close to that performance; as the Racing Post notes, 2001 winner, Galileo, posted the second-fastest time of 2:27.10.

Virginia Kraft Payson, who bred and raced St. Jovite, plans on being at the Curragh for the festivities. “St. Jovite means the world to me. He's the most special horse,” Payson told the Racing Post recently. “I can't love him any more than I do.”

Payson has been considering returning St. Jovite to the U.S. and having him join the band of equine retirees at her Florida farm. The current roster of retirees include St. Jovite's 32-year-old full brother, Lac Ouimet, and his 33-year-old half brother, Salem Drive.

The 26-year-old St. Jovite has resided at Ballysax Manor Stud near the Curragh for the past two years after standing at Greentree Stud in County Tipperary. Payson is unsure whether she would be able to bring St. Jovite home, or if it would be best to let him remain in Ireland.

“I'll have to make the decision when I actually see him and get a vet's opinion on whether he can take the trip and the change in everything,” Payson said. “He's living a very peaceful life now, and when they get this old they shouldn't be subjected to drastic change.”

Read more in the Racing Post

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