Precisionist, a champion, Breeders' Cup winner, and member of racing's Hall of Fame, was euthanized Sept. 27 at Old Friends near Georgetown, Ky., less than four months after arriving at the facility. The 25-year-old horse was suffering from an inoperable tumor.
"This horse had so much class," Michael Blowen, founder of Old Friends, said. "He just exuded it.
"Yesterday he looked at me and said, 'It is time.' Today, he came out and stood by the grave and knew. Chris McCarron told me he rode a lot of horses that gave 100% but this was the only horse that he rode that gave 100% 100% of the time."
Blowen said Precisionist had a malignant tumor in his sinus passages.
The horse was buried in his entirety at the farm and a ceremony will be held in his honor Oct. 16. He was euthanized a week after another Old Friends' resident, Taylor's Special, met the same fate after fracturing a femur. A ceremony for Taylor's Special will be held Oct. 9.
Bred and owned by Fred W. Hooper, Precisionist had speed and could carry it a distance of ground. He won the six-furlong Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) in 1:08 2/5, the mile Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood in track record time of 1:32 4/5, and the 1 1/4-mile Swaps Handicap (gr. I) in 1:59 4/5. He also set a track record at Del Mar in an allowance race, when he covered a mile in 1:33 1/5.
Precisionist made 46 starts and won 20, running second 10 times and third four. He retired with earnings of $3,485,398. He was trained most of his career by Ross Fenstermaker, but made his last start for Will Donovan and the nine races prior to that was saddled by John Russell.
By Crozier out of the Forli mare Excellently, Precisionist started in four Breeders' Cups, running seventh in the Classic (gr. I) as a 3-year-old, winning the Sprint as a 4-year-old (1985), finishing third in the Classic at five, and returning at seven after a failed attempt at stud to run fifth in the Sprint.
The year he won the Sprint, he also won the Eclipse Award as champion sprinter.
Precisionist had a rival during a portion of his career, meeting Greinton eight times from January 1985 to April 1986. They each won four and ran one-two seven times in graded stakes, four grade Is and three grade IIs.
Precisionist was retired for the first time following his 1986 campaign, Hooper having sold half-interest for stud purposes to Arthur Appleton for $4 million. However, he was subfertile, only getting a few mares in foal. Hooper refunded the money and Precisionist was put back in training.
When retired the second time, Hooper spent considerable resources in attempts to improve the horse's fertility. But Precisionist had just one foal in 1989, two in 1990, and one in 1991.
He was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2003.
Precisionist lived in Florida at the farm of Dr. Sioban Ellison beginning in 1996. She donated him to Old Friends and he arrived there in June.