By Steve Byk
John A. Nerud’s grade I winner Clabber Girl was euthanized June 7 due to the infirmities of old age at Sugar Maple Farm near Poughquag, N.Y. She was 25.
“She was a real hard-hitting mare,” said Nerud, who bred the mare. “And she was my original frequent flyer. (Trainer) Wayne (Lukas) never hesitated to fly her somewhere to run.”
A Florida-bred by Alydar out of Jedina (by What a Pleasure), Clabber Girl amassed $1,006,261 in earnings from 39 career starts that featured eight wins and 18 placings.
Clabber Girl was trained by Nerud’s son, Jan, before Lukas took charge following the mare’s 3-year-old season in 1986. Clabber Girl’s big year came in 1988, when she won the Top Flight (gr. I), Chula Vista (gr. II), and Rancho Bernardo (gr. III) Handicaps, plus placed in five graded stakes. In 1987, Clabber Girl’s big effort came in a runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I).
“She wasn’t a great 2-year-old,” Nerud recalled, “But by the time Wayne got her she was on her way to becoming a good horse. She was a model of how a good racemare should look: the feminine head, shoulder, and hip. She personified soundness.”
After her racing career, Clabber Girl was bred to the likes of Seattle Slew and Private Account, but her two best runners came from matings with Nerud’s stallion A. P Jet. Running Dog was stakes-placed, and Wing Man is a $300,000-plus earner.
Clabber Girl produced 13 foals, including a yearling of 2008. Seven of her foals won.
Clabber Girl became increasingly arthritic in recent years, and her condition deteriorated markedly over the winter, according to Sugar Maple farm manager Dan Hayden. “It was getting harder and harder for her,” Hayden said. “And she was such a sweetheart of a mare that no one wanted to see her suffer.”
Clabber Girl laid down in her paddock June 7, and when it became apparent that she would not get up, she was euthanized by Sugar Maple veterinarian Jim Mort.