(Abel Tasman winning the 2017 KY Oaks / All Photos by Holly M. Smith)

Editor’s Note:

Bob Baffert, the man who knew her best, always referred to the prized filly Abel Tasman as being as sweet as a grandmother.

Pretty good reference, mind you. Most “grannies” are pretty sweet, after all. And, kind. And, gentle. And, most of all, perfect to be around both in the mornings and in the afternoon.

In fact, the Hall of Fame trainer often would speak of how he would like to have a foal out of Abel Tasman and by the Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh.

“They would be perfect together,” Baffert once said at his barn at the Churchill Downs backside. “They are two of the kindest horses I have ever had the privilege of being around. They are both smart and easy. The foal would have to be a pleasure, too.”

Then, Baffert, paused. For effect. Before he resumed.

“Most of all, the foal probably could run a bit,” he said.


After all, the proposed “daddy” sure could. In the history of Thoroughbred racing, American Pharaoh is the only horse to ever win both the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The one. The only. “Grand Slam” winner.

After all, the promised “mom” sure could run, too. Despite being RNA’d for a modest $65,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2015, Abel Tasman went on to win 8 of 16 lifetime starts. She added 4 seconds to the resume, too. And, she won 6 Grade 1 Stakes events — including the prestigious KY Oaks. That’s running. And, at the end of her race career? Abel Tasman was sold for a smooth $5,000,000. That’s running up the score.

Couldn’t you just imagine the off-spring of those two?

Makes even the greatest trainer of all time start to day-dream a bit.

Here’a a look at Abel Tasman. Through the eyes & lens of Holly M. Smith:

(Abel Tasman getting a little school lesson)

(Abel Tasman headed to the winner’s circle after capturing the KY Oaks)

(Abel Tasman in the post parade before the KY Oaks)

(Abel Tasman winning the KY Oaks at a nice price, too)

(Abel Tasman, consigned by Taylor Made Farm, sold for $5,000,000 at the Keeneland January Sale in 2019. She was purchased by M.V. Magnier)