Pensioned Florida stallion Proud Birdie, who won the 1977 Marlboro Cup Handicap (gr. I) and sired 33 stakes winners, was euthanized May 2 because of complications from the infirmities of old age. Proud Birdie, 30, was buried in a scenic wooded area at A. Douglas Henderson's Marablue Farm near Reddick, Fla., where he stood his entire stallion career.
A son of 1967 Kentucky Derby winner Proud Clarion out of the Bolero mare Bernie Bird, Proud Birdie was purchased by A. Douglas Henderson for $21,000 at the first Ocala Breeders' Sales Company sale of 2-year-olds in training sale in 1975. His big win came in the Marlboro Cup, but he also won four other stakes, including the Everglades Stakes (gr. II). Proud Birdie retired with nine wins from 35 starts and earnings of $324,842.
Henderson purchased the property that would become Marablue Farm in 1974, and Proud Birdie entered stud there in 1979. "Birdie was more than just a friend; he got the 'ball rolling' for Marablue Farm," said Henderson.
From 20 crops and a total of 507 foals, Proud Birdie sired 33 stakes-placed runners in addition to his 33 added-money winners and the earners of $21 million. His top runners include grade I-winning sprinter Birdonthewire, and such others as stakes winners Birdie Belle, Proud Nova, Dirty Birdie, Birdie's Legend, Georgia Bird Dog, Sweet Proud Polly, Swedaus, Perfectly Proud, Hidden Tomahawk, Pride Prevails, Proud Shot, Acting Proud, Score A Birdie, V Formation, and Star's Proud Penny, plus Mexican champion Huizcazda.
Pensioned in 1998, Proud Birdie continued to reign as the "grand old man of Marablue," as Henderson referred to him, and was a regular presence at the farm's annual stallion shows, even when retired from the breeding shed. He was one of the featured senior equines in Barbara Livingston's book, "Old Friends."