Champion Hidden Lake Dies at 23
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake, the champion mare of 1997, was euthanized Sept. 29 at the age of 23, according to Old Friends Farm, where she was pensioned since 2009.

Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends near Georgetown, Ky., attributed her death to infirmities of old age.

Owned and campaigned by Robert Clay and Tracy Farmer for three seasons, Hidden Lake, by Quiet American, broke her maiden at Del Mar as a 2-year-old and was stakes-placed throughout her 3-year-old year before breaking through to win the 1996 La Brea Stakes (gr .II) for trainer Walter Greenman.

But it was during her 4-year-old season, after moving to the East Coast with trainer John Kimmel, that the mare truly made her mark. In 1997 Hidden Lake captured four graded stakes, three of them grade I races, including the Hempstead Handicap at Belmont Park and the spectacular Go for Wand at Saratoga Race Course, after which she nearly collapsed from heat exhaustion.

At the time her jockey, Richard Migliore, summed up her greatness of spirit after the Go for Wand.

"She reached down and found something that wasn't there," Migliore said. "That's what champions do."

Hidden Lake came back strong three months later to win the Beldame (gr. I) and was also a contender in that year's Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), where she finished seventh. Following her banner season, Hidden Lake received the Eclipse Award as champion older mare and retired shortly thereafter with seven wins from 22 starts and earnings of $947,489.

She became a broodmare but had increasing difficulty carrying foals to term. In 2009 then-owner Robert Evans donated Hidden Lake to Old Friends.

"Hidden Lake defined bravery, determination, and courage," said Old Friends board member Barbara Fossum, who cared for the mare regularly at the farm. "She was dignified and generous to those who loved her—demanding and all heart. She personified everything an Eclipse champion should be."

"Hidden Lake was all class," Blowen said. "Especially at the end. Her courage and fortitude were unmatched while on the track and off."

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