Determine (foaled in 1951), was a multiple stakes winning American Thoroughbred race horse. By Alibhai (who also sired Your Host and whose own sire, Hyperion won the 1933 Epsom Derby and the 1933 St. Leger Stakes), Determine’s dam was Koubis, born with a cleft palate. Her breeder, Dr. Eslie Asbury, using specially designed instruments, repaired her palate in a unique operation, but she was never raced.
Bred to Alibhai, Koubis produced a colt so small that the man who bought him for $12,000, a California automobile dealer named Andrew J. Crevolin, said he “…must have been standing in a hole when he inspected the colt.” His breeder offered to take him back, but Crevolin refused, explaining that he might be letting a Kentucky Derby winner get away.
Determine, a soft gray in color, grew to a little over fifteen hands and never weighed more than 900 pounds, but in his two-year-old season he won double his purchase price. Overall, it was a modest year, but when he turned three, with no break in training from the year before, Determine was always in stakes company and was never out of the money. In more than one race, his small size got him through holes, and his light weight made him nimble in cramped situations.
After winning the Santa Anita Derby as well as a few other important West Coast stakes races, Crevolin wanted to send him to Kentucky for the Derby. But his trainer, Bill Molter, with a large stable to manage, was reluctant to take the risk. Trainer and owner went back and forth over this decision until Determine made it for them by winning more races. He was flown to Kentucky and in the space of four days, ran in two grueling races. On April 17, 1954, he competed in the Derby Trial, running side by side with Hasty Road in the stretch. Little Determine looked half the size of Hasty Road but matched him stride for stride. Hasty Road won by a head in a new track record time of 1:35 for the mile. Determine’s time was not much less than that. The show horse was eleven lengths back.
On May 1st, Determine was ridden by Ray York in the 1954 Kentucky Derby. Right out of the gate, York was almost unseated. Timely Tip, who had won the Arkansas Derby, cut over badly from the outside. In what Churchill Downs describes as one of the roughest Derbys ever run, Determine stayed on his feet and York stayed in the saddle. Hasty Road was well in the lead, but Determine caught him and won by a length and a half. Determine was the first gray to win the Derby. (Hasty Road went on to win the Preakness Stakes.)
Back in California, Determine was sent out against older horses. Losing a few races, he was found to have an abscessed jaw and was taken out of training. When he came back, he was heavily weighted, taking its toll on the little horse. Even so, he won four stakes races and retired with winnings of almost $600,000.
Determine proved himself as much a sire as a stakes winner. His son, Decidedly, won the 1962 Kentucky Derby. Warfare, out of War Whisk, proved himself a fine campaigner. And he was damsire to the great Hall of Fame filly, Bold 'n Determined.
Determine died in September, 1972.