French breeder/owner Jean-Luc Lagardere, who bred 2001 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Val Royal, died March 14 in a French hospital after contracting a virus following a hip operation. He was 75.Lagardere, president of France-Galop since 1995, owned Haras d'Ouilly as well as some 200 homebred horses. He initially won group events with Val Royal before selling the son of Royal Academy. Val Royal captured the 2001 Mile for David Milch.In 1998, Lagardere won the 1998 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) with Sagamix. The colt was bred in the name S.N.C. Lagardere Elevage.Lagardere, who bought his first horse more than 30 years ago, developed a love of racing at an early age. "I have loved horses since I was four," he said. "I have ancestors who were in the cavalry and horses were all around me. The love for them must be in my genes."Best known in France as a businessman, Lagardere was a leader in publishing and prominent in the banking and aviation industry.