Thursday, July 2, 2009

Farewell to a favorite: Rahy pensioned

Just a quick chance today to say "goodbye," to the stud career, at least, of the little stallion who could, Rahy, who was announced as pensioned by Three Chimneys Farm at the age of 24.

I've never stood next to the fellow, but I've been told by those who have that "small" isn't the word for him. He's listed in the Stallion Register at 15.1 hands, but one woman compared his height to that of her show pony back home, and placed them almost on even terms.

Where Rahy stood tall was in the shed: A dozen millionaires; more than a dozen Grade 1 winners. As of this writing, progeny earnings of $85,707,354 from 554 winners and 84 stakes winners.

The names of his better get are unforgettable to race fans:

-- Fantastic Light, a dozen Grade or Group 1 wins and multiple championships, he earned nearly $8.5 million and was "Horse of the World."

-- Serena's Song, winner of 17 graded stakes races from 18 victories, twice beating colts including the Haskell Invitational-G1 and Jim Beam S.-G2 over colts, more than $3.2 million earned, champion 3-year-old filly.

-- Dreaming of Anna, graded-stakes winner on dirt and turf, victor of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, 2-year-old champion. And, of course, her full brother, G2-winning track record-setter Lewis Michael, who now is at stud at Three Chimneys.

-- Hawksley Hill, a rugged gelding with a mercurial temperament who was a multiple Grade 2 winner and earned $1.7 million from 45 races without ever winning a Grade 1.

-- Tranquility Lake, a multiple-G1 filly who earned $1.6 million.

-- Noverre, Irish-born millionaire son who won the Group 1 Sussex Stakes in the U.K. and at stud has already sired his own Group 1 winner in Le Harve (Prix du Jockey Club).

-- Tates Creek, filly who won 11 races and more than $1 million, including the Gamely H.-G1.

-- Early Pioneer, another of his gelded sons, millionaire winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup-G1.

-- Designed For Luck, 10 wins including the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile-G1. 

-- Exotic Wood, three-times a G1 winner (Go For Wand, Santa Monica, Santa Maria handicaps).

Rahy got winners on dirt, turf and poly. He got winners going short, including Bop, whose six turf sprint stakes wins included three track records and his Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap time of 0:54 3/5 was a world record for 5 furlongs on grass when set. He got winners going long, namely many of those raced in Europe and, at home, the likes of Dancing Forever, winner of the 10-furlong Manhattan H.-G1 at Belmont and the mile and a half Elkhorn S.-G2 at Keeneland.

And, he's earned an excellent reputation as a broodmare sire. His daughters have produced Grade 1 or Group 1 winners including: Giant's Causeway (out of G2 winner Mariah's Storm, who has produced four other blacktype foals); Sophisticat (one of five blacktype foals out of Serena's Song, who also produced G2 winners Harlington and Grand Reward); After Market (son of Tranquility Lake); and Del Mar Oaks-G1 winner Rutherienne (out of Firecracker Handicap-winner Ruthian).

And I'm probably missing many sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters who are worth mentioning.

"Rahy is one of the most important stallions we've had," said Case Clay, president of Three Chimneys.

I'd say he's one of the most important stallions anyone has had in the last 25 years. And I do mean "anyone."


  1. Live long and well, handsome Rahy. Don't sell small stature short. I remember him for the attempts at breeding with Genuine Risk. Not a happy ending, but a decent effort and both owners had the class and resources to care for these horses properly (GR and Rahy) in their advancing age. That is a happy ending for me.

  2. You say you never stood next to Rahy. You could have done.

    A couple of years ago I saw a video in which Ray Paulick talked about his first days in Kentucky. Before he found a place to live, he said, he went to see Secretariat at Claiborne Farm.

    As I watched that video, I thought - my God, I should gone to see Secretariat when I had the chance. It never occurred to me to make a pilgrimage to Claiborne in the late 80's (I was young then and thought we would all live forever) but after Secretariat's death - which was a huge, awful shock - I wished that I had gone to see him - to pay him the tribute he deserved and just to actually SEE him.

    Since you have strong feelings for Rahy, maybe you might want to visit him. Notwithstanding any of our hopes about the horses we love, he won't live forever.

  3. I'm sure that I could have seen him, and probably could still. I do know fans who have. Some of the Kentucky farms (and elsewhere, too) are very accommodating.

    But I don't believe I've had an actual vacation since 2005 ...

  4. I wish Rahy, an awesome and handsome thoroughbred, a long, happy, and healthy life at Three Chimneys. He certainly deserves it after producing so many champions.
    I'll be looking forward to visiting him again soon.


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