First cousins Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps and Stuart Janney III are latest in the line of racing royalty that finished second in the race twice, sold a future Kentucky Derby winner and lost the chance to own the greatest Thoroughbred ever, Secretariat, thanks to a coin flip.
Those missed chances are forgotten Saturday when Orb won the 139th Derby. The two men own the 3-year-old colt in partnership.
"It's really the culmination of horse racing, and I am thrilled to be here today," Phipps said.
Said Janney, "I just couldn't be more delighted that we're doing this together."
The 72-yeae-old Phipps first came around Churchill Downs with the pair's grandmother, Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps. Her Wheatley Stable campaigned 1957 Derby favorite Bold Ruler, who finished fourth.
It was a son of Bold Ruler that turned out to be the family's toughest bit of racing luck. Dinny's father, Ogden Phipps, had an arrangement with Penny Chenery's Meadow Stable to breed two of Chenery's mares to Phipps' stallion Bold Ruler in consecutive years. Each group got one of the foals, with the coin toss determining who chose first. Phipps won but it was second horse that turned out to be 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
Ogden Phipps sent out Derby runner-up Dapper Dan in 1965. The elder Phipps again finished second in 1989 when heavy favorite Easy Goer couldn't catch Sunday Silence in the stretch. Dinny had the third-place finisher that year, Awe Inspiring, with his first and only prior Kentucky Derby starter before Orb.
Easy Goer and Sunday Silence dueled two weeks later in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of Triple Crown, with Easy Goer again coming up short. But he turned back his rival in the final leg with a romp in the Belmont Stakes.
The family's most recent Derby starter came from Dinny's late sister, Cynthia Phipps, who sent out Saarland in 2002. He finished 10th.
Their latest Derby miss came in 2010. Four years earlier, Dinny Phipps sold a mare named Supercharger for $160,000. She was in foal at the time and the baby born in 2007 would be named Super Saver and go on to the win Derby.
The 64-year-old Janney saw his parents breed race champion filly Ruffian, then endure her tragic death in a match race against Derby winner Foolish Pleasure in 1975. Orb was his first Kentucky Derby starter.
Trainer Shug McGaughey has been alongside Phipps and Janney for nearly 30 years. The family's horses — including undefeated champion Personal Ensign — helped propel him to the Hall of Fame in 2004.
"I'm extremely proud to be able to work with people such as this," McGaughey said.