Chilukki, the top 2-year-old filly of 1999, died May 7 at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute near Lexington after complications during foaling. Her Ghostzapper colt also was lost.
The first champion campaigned by Robert and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable, Chilukki (Cherokee Run--Song of Syria, by Damascus) was bred in Kentucky by Dr. R. Smiser West and his wife, Kathryn, in partnership with Hall of Fame trainer MacKenzie Miller and his wife, Martha.
Chilukki, whose name translates to the word the Cherokee use in describing themselves, was purchased by Stonerside at the 1999 Fasig-Tipton Florida March sale of 2-year-olds in training. Her quarter-mile workout of :21 1/5 equaled the fastest workout of the sale preview.
Sent to trainer Bob Baffert, Chilukki set a track record for 4 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs in her debut. She followed that with a win over males in the Kentucky Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. III) in her second start, then reeled off four consecutive graded wins, including victories in the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) and Vinery Del Mar Debutante Stakes (gr. I).
Chilukki closed her juvenile campaign with a second to Cash Run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Despite the loss, she was an overwhelming choice for champion 2-year-old filly.
At 3, Chilukki set her second track record at Churchill Downs in winning the Churchill Downs Distaff Handicap (gr. II) on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. In 2005, Churchill Downs renamed the race in her honor.
Chilukki faced prominent racemare Spain in what proved to be Chilukki's last three races. She beat Spain in the El Encino Stakes (gr. II), ran second to her in the La Canada Stakes (gr. II), and was fourth to her in the La Brea Stakes (gr. I). Chilukki retired to Stonerside near Paris, Ky., with 11 wins from 17 starts and earnings of $1,201,828.
“Chilukki was an exceptional filly from the day we purchased her,” said John Adger, racing and bloodstock manager for Stonerside. “She was the first major horse for Stonerside, and really put the stable on the map. We are so pleased that Churchill Downs decided to honor her with the Chilukki Stakes. It will be a lasting tribute to a great filly.”
“She was like a family member,” Baffert said. “It’s hard to accept when they are gone. She was special from the beginning. Her first start was brilliant. We were fortunate to end up with a filly that was so thrilling to watch run.”
Chilukki produced four foals for Stonerside, with both her two starters winning. Sequoyah, her 2-year-old A.P. Indy colt, is scheduled to arrive at Baffert’s barn in California later this week. Chilukki’s last foal is a yearling filly by Elusive Quality .
Chilukki was buried in her entirety at Stonerside.