Bernardini is a thoroughbred race horse foaled on March 23, 2003 at Darley Stable in Kentucky. A son of A.P. Indy, he is out of Cara Rafaela who won almost a million dollars over the course of her racing career. Her sire was Quiet American, who also produced Real Quiet, a horse that came within a nose of winning the 1998 Triple Crown.
Bernardini won the 2006 Preakness Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:54.65 in the same race where Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was ultimately fatally injured.
Bernardini was ridden to victory in the Preakness by jockey Javier Castellano, and is trained by Thomas Albertrani. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, Bernadini is regally bred, with Belmont Stakes winner and 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy as his sire, and a bloodline that includes Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, and Secretariat. By blood, he is related to Triple Crown contenders Real Quiet and Charismatic.
Bernardini's racing career began at age three at Gulfstream Park where he finished 4th in a maiden. After a lung infection kept him from racing for 2 months, he came back with a win at Gulfstream on March 4. On April 29, he easily won the Grade III Withers Stakes prior to going to the Preakness.
After his Preakness win, Sheik Mohammed decided that Bernardini would not race in the June 10 Belmont Stakes, which meant that for only the 4th time in 60 years, there were neither the Kentucky Derby winner nor the Preakness winner in the field. A spokesman for Sheik Mohammed's Darley Stable reasoned that "...(Bernardini) climbed the ladder of competition quite quickly" and that "he deserves the break."
Bernardini returned to the races on July 30 at Saratoga Race Course with a 10-length victory in the Jim Dandy Stakes over Minister's Bid. On August 26, 2006, he won the Travers Stakes, also in Saratoga, by 7 lengths over Haskell Invitational winner and Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes runner-up, Bluegrass Cat. In the October 7 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Bernardini earned a 117 Beyer figure in a winning effort.
The ultimate goal for Bernardini in 2006 was the Breeders' Cup Classic on November 4, the most prestigious horse race in the country and a race that would most likely determine 2006 Horse of the Year honors.
In the race, Bernardini was never far back from the lead, and passed the frontrunner Brother Derek at the far turn. However, Bernardini was unable to hold his lead and he was passed by Invasor at the sixteenth pole and finished in second place, losing to Invasor by a length.
Bernardini was retired to stud, and stands for $75,000 at Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable at Jonabell Farm near Lexington, Kentucky.
He won the Eclipse Award for 3 Year Old Male of the Year for 2006.