Coolmore Stud’s talented stallion Hennessy reportedly died of apparent heart failure Aug. 9 at Haras La Mission in Argentina. The 14-year-old son of Storm Cat out of Island Kitty, by Hawaii, had shuttled to Argentina for the Southern Hemisphere breeding season.He stood the Northern Hemisphere seasons at John Magnier and partners' North American farm, Ashford Stud, near Versailles, Ky. His fee this year was $60,000.
"They suspect he died of a heart attack," Coolmore spokesman Richard Henry said Aug. 10. "We're very sorry to hear it. He was a very professional, good racehorse and was a great servant for Ashford. He has been a very good stallion, and we're sorry for the Argentinians."
The sire of 57 stakes winners, Hennessy has eight stakes winners to date this year and was most recently represented by Silver Tree, winner of the Fourstardave Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Aug. 5.
Hennessy's top offspring was Johannesburg, the unbeaten 2-year-old of 2001 who was named champion juvenile male in North America, Ireland, France, and England. Johannesburg, who stands at Ashford, is the second-leading second-crop sire of 2007 and was the second-leading first-crop sire last year.
Based on the exploits of Johannesburg, Hennessy was the leading juvenile sire in North America with his second crop in 2001. Hennessy was also the second-leading juvenile sire of 2005.
Hennessy entered stud in 1997 at Ashford with a fee of $30,000 and had seven stakes winners from his first North American crop. Popular worldwide, he shuttled to Australia three times and stood one season, the 2001 Northern Hemisphere season, at East Stud in Japan.
Another top son of Hennessy, Henny Hughes, was a multiple grade I winner and just finished his first season at stud at Darley near Lexington, Ky. Other sons of Hennessy standing at stud in North America include the graded stakes winners Blazonry, Cactus Ridge, Roll Hennessy Roll, and Wiseman's Ferry .
Hennessy is also represented by the grade I winning fillies Madcap Escapade and Harmony Lodge, and by Australian champion Grand Armee, who has seven group I wins to his credit.
He is also the sire of Turkish 2-year-old male champion Perfect Storm.
Bred by Overbrook Farm, Hennessy is out of the graded stakes-placed Hawaii mare Island Kitty and is a half brother to $812,426-earner Shy Tom and Pearl City, winner of the Ballerina Stakes (gr. I).
A $500,000 Keeneland July yearling sale purchase, Hennessy raced for Bob and Beverly Lewis and was trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. As a 2-year-old in 1995, Hennessy won four of nine starts and placed twice in major races. He earned $580,400.
He won three stakes in a row after breaking his maiden, taking the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. II), Sapling Stakes (gr. II) and the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. All three wins came while he was the odds-on favorite. After a sixth-place finish in the Moet Champagne Stakes (gr. I) he lost the photo in a memorable stretch battle with Unbridled's Song in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Belmont Park. He ran twice more after the Breeders' Cup, scoring a runner-up spot in the Hollywood Preview Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) in his penultimate race.