Three Chimneys Farm president Dan Rosenberg announced the death of successful farm stallion Fly So Free Oct. 21 of congestive heart failure. The 15-year-old son of Time for a Change was a champion for Broadway musical producer Tommy Valando and was owned during his stallion career by his widow, Elizabeth Jones Valando.
"A year ago, Fly So Free developed a heart condition that could have been aggravated by continued breeding activity," Rosenberg said. "Elizabeth Valando didn't think twice and retired him immediately. His well being has always been paramount to her and Fly So Free was quite comfortable until the end. Elizabeth was able to come to Kentucky in time to see him last night, and he died this morning about 6 a.m."
Fly So Free, who was produced from the Stevward mare Free to Fly, was buried next to fellow 2-year-old champion Chief's Crown and alongside Time for a Change at Three Chimneys, owned by Robert N. Clay, near Midway, Ky.
"Fly So Free was like a fairy tale for Tommy and me," Elizabeth Valando said. "He was the first horse that Tommy ever bought, and the horse brought so much enjoyment to our lives and introduced us to so many wonderful people. Truly, Fly So Free changed our lives, and for that I will always be grateful."
Fly So Free has sired the earners of $16.8 million, including Captain Steve, winner of the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), Donn Handicap (gr. I), and Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), and an earner of $6.8 million. Captain Steve was a champion in Dubai. Fly So Free's daughter, Free Vacation, was a 1999 Canadian champion the year she defeated males in winning the classic Breeders' Stakes (Can-IRT). His other stakes winners include Arabian Light, winner of the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II), and grade III winner Take the Cake. Overall, he sired 10 stakes winners.
Bred by Bruce Hundley and Wayne Garrison, Fly So Free was voted champion 2-year-old male of 1990 after winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I). At three, he won the Florida Derby (gr. I), Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II), and Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) to sweep the Florida prep races for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Later that year, he won the Jim Dandy (gr. II) and Riva Ridge (gr. III) Stakes.
Fly So Free raced through age five, and won the Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. II) in 1993. He was retired with a dozen wins from 33 starts and earnings of $2,330,954.