The horses who spoil a Triple Crown bid are often as remembered as the hopefuls they thwarted. For some, the Belmont Stakes is the highlight of their career. Not so for the well-bred bay colt who picked up the pieces as Charismatic staggered home injured in third.
That was not Lemon Drop Kid’s first big dance, nor would it be his last. The colt already boasted a Grade 1 win at Belmont Park; he captured the Futurity Stakes as a juvenile as well. And in the summer heat of 1999 at beautiful Saratoga, Lemon Drop Kid proved his classic win was no fluke with a win in the Travers Stakes (G1), the “Midsummer Derby.”
As a four year old, Lemon Drop Kid took home the premier Grade 1 races for older males at Saratoga – the Whitney and the Woodward. The Suburban (G2) would be his that year as well. In the year that gave us Tiznow, Lemon Drop Kid did not win Horse of the Year, but instead was given the award for Champion Older Male.
15 years after his Belmont Stakes success, Lemon Drop Kid now is making his mark in the breeding shed. 79 stakes winners, according to his page on Lane’s End Farm’s website, and 33 of those are graded. His first crop, born in 2002, boasted the millionaire Cosmonaut. One of his youngest stars, Kid Cruz, has won four stakes races this year.
It’s not surprising Lemon Drop Kid evolved into a talented sire – he was made for it. Sire Kingmambo is by super stallion Mr. Prospector and out of the great racemare Miesque. Dam Charming Lassie is a half-sister to Weekend Surprise, who produced the legendary sire A.P. Indy. Lemon Drop Kid is bred in the purple.
This last weekend alone, Lemon Drop Kid enjoyed a pair of graded stakes winners in Somali Lemonade, who bagged the TVG Diana (G1) at Saratoga, and Aurelia’s Belle, winner of the Arlington Oaks (G3).
While Lemon Drop Kid excelled on the dirt, his offspring have, for the most part, done their best work on turf or synthetic. His top earner, Richard’s Kid – who was racing successfully in graded stakes company at the age of 8 – took home two editions of Del Mar’s Pacific Classic (G1) on Polytrack. Citronnade and Kiss the Kid were also turf runners, though the latter was successful on multiple surfaces. As far as surface versatile-sires go, Lemon Drop Kid is one of the best.
Some of the newer Kids on the block – pun most certainly intended – include the aforementioned graded stakes winners Kid Cruz and Aurelia’s Belle, as well as Sea Queen, who finished second in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), Unspurned, a stakes winner at Woodbine, and Grade 3-placed Candy Kitty.
Then there is Lemons Forever, winner of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in 2006. Her 2011 daughter Unbridled Forever (Unbridled’s Song) is one of the top contenders in this year’s sophomore filly division, with third-place finishes in the Kentucky Oaks and the Acorn (G1). Lemons Forever is just one of many Lemon Drop Kid daughters making a name for themselves as broodmares. Gout De Terroir leads the fray as the dam of multiple Group 1 winner Elusive Kate (Elusive Quality).
18-year-old Lemon Drop Kid, who entered stud in 2001, stands at Lane’s End Farm for $35,000.