Pebbles, the first British horse to win a Breeders' Cup race, has died in Japan, according to the Racing Post
. The 24-year-old daughter of Sharpen Up was euthanized at Darley Stud's Fukumitsu Farm, where she had resided since 1996. She was retired from breeding three years ago.
Racing for Darley owner Sheikh Mohammed, Pebbles won the 1985 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Aqueduct in her lone start in the United States and was voted an Eclipse Award as top grass mare. The Turf was her first start at 1 1/2 miles, and she accomplished the task in record time of 2:27.
"She was just unbelievable--a great character," her trainer, Clive Brittain, told the Post
. "I knew she was special as a foal. I was lucky enough to see her just hours after she was born.
"The highlight would have to be her victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf, more so because it was over a mile and a half and she wasn't expected to stay. She was just a class above the others."
In addition to beating males in the Turf, Pebbles (Sharpen Up--La Dolce, by Connaught) defeated them in such English group I fixtures as the Coral Eclipse Stakes and Dubai Champion Stakes. Another group I English score came in the General Accident One Thousand Guineas.
"When she won the Eclipse, she made the colts like Rainbow Quest look like hacks," said Brittain about her effort in becoming the first distaffer to win the race.
"She has to be up there among the best fillies I have trained, and I've been lucky enough to have a lot of good ones in my care--User Friendly, Sayyedati, and Crimplene to name three. She only disappointed us twice and she was in-season both times.
"Sheikh Mohammed bought her after she won the Guineas as a broodmare and sadly she never bred anything special. I wanted to run her in the Oaks, but the Sheikh had several in the race so we rerouted her to the Coronation Stakes (Eng-II, in which she ram second) at Royal Ascot."
Pebbles won eight of 15 races over three seasons and earned $1,419,632. In 1985, she was an English champion miler and older mare. She fared poorly as a broodmare, with only two of her 11 named offspring winning.