Caroline Forgason

Somali Lemonade, Diana S, Saratoga, July 19th 2014

Trained by Michael Matz, Sire: Lemon Drop Kid. Dam: Chic Corine

Standing in the winner’s circle at Saratoga July 19, trying to get her mind around what she had just witnessed, Somali Lemonade’s owner Caroline Forgason said, “I never dreamed of this.” Forgason had just won her first Grade I stakes, the Diana Handicap, at a track she’s been coming to since she was 18 years old with her only horse—one whom was almost retired at the end of last year. “We thought she lost the `want to,’” Forgason said. “And when you lose the `want to,’ that’s kind of it.”

It’s a fairy tale come true for Forgason, whose family has deep roots in racing going back to her grandfather’s grandfather, Richard King, the founder of legendary King Ranch in Texas. Known for raising cattle and Quarter Horses, the ranch began breeding Thoroughbreds in 1934 and in 1946 won the Triple Crown with its home-bred Assault. Four years later, their home-bred Middleground won the 1950 Kentucky Derby, finished second to Hill Prince in the Preakness, and then won the Belmont Stakes. Forgason’s grandfather, Robert Justus Kleberg, took over management of the ranch in 1885. Under Kleberg, the ranch grew from 600,000 acres to 1.3 million. “My grandfather was really the one who got us into it,” Forgason said. “It’s a family affair.”

In 1974 Forgason’s sister, Helen Alexander, began managing the ranch’s Thoroughbred operation. In 1989, King Ranch sold its bloodstock to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and its Kentucky property to Robert Clay’s Three Chimneys Farm.

Forgason has been in and out of racing for more than a quarter century. “I had kind of gotten out of things, then Michael (brother-in-law Matz) trained Barbaro and it was so exciting—so amazing when he won the Derby,” she said.

“I had a ton of horses and most of them got sick or hurt,” Forgason said. “That makes the Diana very special.”