Millionaire Dahlia, who earned an Eclipse Award and twice was England's Horse of the Year, was euthanized April 6 at age 31 at Gerald Ford's Diamond A Farm near Versailles, Ky. The daughter of Vaguely Noble had been pensioned since 1996 and was buried at the farm.
"She was a grand mare with great presence," said farm manager Ted Carr.
A homebred for Nelson Bunker Hunt, Dahlia was the first of the great international runners that crisscrossed the Atlantic. The Kentucky-bred mare won major races in North America, England, Ireland, and France, and at one time was the world's leading money-earning distaffer. Overall, she won 15 of 48 races and earned $1,489,105.
Dahlia, who was produced from the Honeys Alibi mare Charming Alibi, was England's Horse of the Year in 1973-74, when her major win both years came in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond (Eng-I) against males. In North America, her grade I wins came on grass in the Hollywood Invitational Handicap, Washington, D.C., International, and Man o' War Stakes. She also won the Canadian International Championship Stakes (gr. IIT) in course record time.
Dahlia's record as a broodmare paralleled her success as a runner. She produced millionaires Dahar and Rivlia, plus other major winners Dahlia's Dreamer, Delegant, Wajd, and Llandaff. Her last foal was produced in 1996, a Theatrical filly named Tani. The late Allen Paulson, who owned Brookside Farm, which now is Diamond A, bought Dahlia for $1.1 million at Hunt's dispersal in 1988. At the time of her death, Dahlia was owned by the Allen E. Paulson Trust.