(Edited press release)
Flying Pidgeon, a grade I winner, millionaire, and member of the Calder Hall of Fame, was euthanized Dec. 5 at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility near Georgetown, Ky., because of complications from the infirmities of old age. The 27-year-old son of Upper Case out of Miss Minnesota was retired to Old Friends by Jane White and the Flying Pidgeon Syndicate in October 2006.
In 56 starts, Flying Pidgeon won or placed in 34 races and earned $1,154,337.
“Yesterday, Flying Pidgeon was resting in the late afternoon sun,” said Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen. “When we went to put him up for the night, he wouldn’t get up. Within minutes, Dr. Doug Byars was here administering steroids to help the old guy. By this morning it was clear that Pidge was telling us it was his time.”
Flying Pidgeon was bred in Florida by Armond Marcanthony’s Flying M Acres and Constance Daparma. Racing for Marcanthony and Daparma and trained by Luis Olivares, Flying Pidgeon enjoyed his best season in 1986, when he won the Hollywood Invitational (gr. IT), W.L. McKnight Invitational (gr. IIT), and Bougainvillea (gr. IIT) Handicaps. He had won divisions of the latter two races the year before.
Throughout his career, Flying Pidegon was known for his “flying” finishes from the back of the pack. He won a total of seven stakes and placed in 16 others, including the 1985 Budweiser-Arlington Million (gr. IT). Eight of his wins and placings, including the two W.L. McKnight wins, were contested at Calder. Calder hosts the the Flying Pidgeon Handicap.
Flying Pidgeon entered stud at Flying M near Ocala, Fla., and stood at several other farms during his career. He sired seven stakes winners and the earners of $4.8 million.
Flying Pidgeon was the second foal and one of eight winners from Miss Minnesota (by Minnesota Mac). A memorial ceremony in his honor will take place at Old Friends in early spring.