Christmas Bonus, a stakes winner and dam of five stakes winners, was euthanized Aug. 18 at age 26 because of complications from the infirmities of old age. "She had a full and quality life, but it was not so good at the end," said Chris Baker, farm manager of Edward Evans' Spring Hill Farm near Casanova, Va.
A female family descendant of Calumet Farm blue hen mare Blue Delight, Christmas Bonus produced 15 foals, 11 of which won, including stakes winners Bonus Money (by Chief's Crown), Bright Candles (by El Gran Senor), Christmas Gift (by Green Desert), Iron County Xmas (by Cox's Ridge), and Shebl (by Green Desert). Bright Candles remains a force in pedigrees as the dam of prominent young sire Grand Slam.
Evans' first involvement with Christmas Bonus came when he bought Christmas Gift for $230,000 at the 1993 Keeneland September yearling sale from Iron County Farms. The following year at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, Evans bought Christmas Bonus (in foal to Storm Bird) for $500,000 from Iron County.
Christmas Gift, who developed into a multiple graded stakes winner, is a member of Evans' broodmare band. She produced a Lemon Drop Kid
filly this year and is in foal to Elusive Quality
. Christmas Gift's yearling filly by Theatrical
is consigned to the Keeneland September sale.
Bred by Cynthia Phipps, Christmas Bonus was a stakes winner for Kentucky horseman David T. Greathouse of Glencrest Farm. Greathouse had bought Christmas Bonus privately in a package deal from Phipps during the spring of the filly's 3-year-old season in 1981.
"She was at Aiken (S.C.) and was tying-up," Greathouse said. "I brought her up here and stuck her out in a field for two months. Just ate grass, no grain. She made her first start in the fall."
Christmas Bonus won a division of the 1982 Poquessing Handicap at Keystone Race Track, after which Greathouse sold her to Lane's End Farm owner William S. Farish and Warner L. Jones Jr. Christmas Bonus retired the following year with seven wins from 28 starts and earnings of $140,557.
Christmas Bonus' yearlings proved popular at the sales. Her first two yearlings, both consigned by Lane's End, sold for $2.5 million and $1.85 million at the Keeneland July sales. Overall, the eight Christmas Bonus' yearlings that sold at auction commanded $6,340,000.
In addition to Christmas Gift, Evans owns three other daughters of Christmas Bonus. Two are broodmares, and both produced their first foals this year. Seattle Christmas had an Elusive Quality colt and is in foal to Mr. Greeley. Christmas Pageant had a Maria's Mon
filly and is in foal to Seeking Daylight
, who was a grade II winner for Evans.
The other daughter, 3-year-old Christmas Card, won a maiden race at Saratoga.