Ten-year-old Gustavian, an Eclipse Award finalist for champion steeplechase horse in 2013, was euthanized Sept. 16 because of complications from a paddock accident, said trainer Leslie Young.
A son of Giant's Causeway out of grade I-winning mare Mossflower (Affirmed), Gustavian was typically given the summer off by Young, who trained the bay gelding for Magalen Bryant. He was injured in July while at Erika Lyman's Maui Meadow Farm in West Chester, Pa.
"He was fooling around in his paddock and he ran into the fencepost with his shoulder," said Young, whose husband Paddy was Gustavian's regular rider. "He broke his humerus, but it wasn't displaced, so we brought him to New Bolton. The fracture healed and he didn't founder, and he was a couple of weeks away from being able to come home when the fetlock in his opposite leg started to drop off. He was in a Kimzey support and he started not wanting to get up; he wasn't helping himself, and he wasn't as bright as he once was. We tried everything."
"We were very hopeful that he was going to return to racing and be 100%," said Cynthia Tucker, Bryant's racing manager. "Unfortunately, that didn't happen."
The winner of the Lonesome Glory Handicap (NSA-I) at Belmont Park in 2013, Gustavian was purchased for $325,000 at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale. Campaigned by Treptow, he raced on the flat for trainer Graham Motion, compiling a record of 2-0-3 from 12 starts. He began a career as a jump horse for the Youngs in 2011, finishing second in his first start over hurdles at Middleburg.
Shortly before the Lonesome Glory, Bryant purchased the horse from Treptow. As a steeplechaser, his record was 20-4-11-2, and his earnings in a seven-year career were $370,219.
Gustavian was bred by Bryant's brother, the late George Ohrstrom Jr., in the name of Whitewood Stable, which also bred and campaigned Gustavian's dam Mossflower. Bryant owned and bred the National Steeplechase Association's 2011 filly and mare champion Ptarmigan and owns 2014 Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner V.E. Day.
"He never once fell in a race, and he was never injured racing," said Young of Gustavian. "We're devastated. He was such a grand horse."
"He was very special for us," said Tucker. "He won a grade I stake for us, and he was related to old family horses they had. He was like family."