Roo Art, a millionaire and two-time grade I winner, died Aug. 13 from chronic kidney failure at Joe and Sharon Kirby's Key Ranch near Salado, Texas.
"It was awful; Friday the 13th," said Sharon Kirby about the death of the 22-year-old son of Buckaroo. "We knew it was coming about a week before it happened. He had been here since we opened in 1999."
"We bred four mares to him this year. He had a larger book than that, but we wanted to protect him."
Bred by Lloyd Miller and Forest Retreat Farms, Roo Art belonged to the same 1982 foal crop responsible for Buckaroo's other millionaire son, Spend a Buck. Whereas Spend a Buck retired in September of 1985 after a Horse of the Year season, Roo Art remained active. As a 4-year-old in 1986, Roo Art won four graded stakes. His victory in the Suburban Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park came over Proud Truth, Creme Fraiche, Danzig Connection, and Skip Trial. Two races later, he won the Philip H. Iselin Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park over Precisionist and that year's Horse of the Year Lady's Secret.
Roo Art was officially retired in mid-1987 with a record of 10 wins from 27 starts and earnings of $1,011,723 for owner Barbara Holleran. He entered stud in 1988 at Sagamore Farm in Maryland and later stood at Green Willows Farm in Maryland, Springhaven Farm in Virginia, Oklahoma State University's College of Veterinary Medicine Ranch, and Summers Mill Farm in Texas before ending up at Key Ranch. Joe Kirby, who managed the OSU ranch, arranged to stand Roo Art at his farm.
Roo Art, who was produced from the Ribot mare New Art, sired eight stakes winners and the earners of $5.8 million. The group was led by Mary's Buckaroo, who won six stakes and earned $723,895.