Fran's Valentine, the only horse to be disqualified from first in the history of the Breeders' Cup, was euthanized in early October because of the infirmities of old age. The 25-year-old daughter of Saros was owned by George Strawbridge Jr. and resided as a pensioner at Bettina Jenney's Derry Meeting Farm near Cochranville, Pa.
Bred in California by Earl Scheib and raced by his Green Thumb Farm Stable, Fran's Valentine crossed under the wire first, at 74-1, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), only to be disqualified for interference in the stretch and placed 10th. The subsequent winner, Outstandingly, was voted an Eclipse Award.
At 3, Fran's Valentine was one of the stars. She captured the Hollywood Oaks (gr. I) in track-record time, plus the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), Santa Susana Stakes (gr. I), and two other graded events. Her season ended with a loss in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).
Fran's Valentine raced the next two years, scoring important triumphs in the 1986 Chula Vista Handicap (gr. II) and the 1987 Santa Maria Handicap (gr. II). In 1986, she ran second to Lady's Secret in the Distaff.
Fran's Valentine, who earned several California championships, retired with a record of 13 wins from 34 races and earnings of $1,375,465. She had been trained by Joe Manzi.
Strawbridge privately acquired Fran's Valentine after she had produced her third foal. Her later foals included grade I winner With Anticipation (by Relaunch) and French group winner With Fascination (by Dayjur).
Campaigned by Strawbridge's Augustin Stable and trained by Jonathan Sheppard, With Anticipation won such stakes as the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) twice, the United Nations Handicap in course-record time, and the Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT). He earned $2,660,543.
Fran's Valentine produced a total of 10 foals, six of which were winners.
"She was easy to handle, but was never one to be buddies with the other pensioned mares," said Derry Meeting farm manager Bobby Goodyear. "But when you would leave her alone and she was by herself, she would be upset. She didn't bother any of the mares, and she didn't want to be bothered."
Fran's Valentine was produced from the Bicker mare Iza Valentine.