Cozzene, a champion and Breeders’ Cup winner and sire of two Breeders’ Cup winners, was euthanized Oct. 7 at the Beck family’s Gainesway Farm near Lexington. The 28-year-old gray son of Caro began his stallion career at the farm in 1986 when it was owned by founder John R. Gaines.
“Grays are supposed to have a shorter life because they often develop melanoma, which he has had for years,” said Gainesway president Antony Beck. “But it has never been uncomfortable for him. Until very recently, he was a happy horse, totally pain free.”
Beck said Cozzene was not in much pain, but his coordination and movement were severely compromised. He could walk, but the farm didn’t want him to get to a stage where he was not enjoying his life.
Cozzene, who was the oldest stallion standing at Gainesway in 2008, was bred to 38 mares this year and got 26 in foal.
Cozzene won the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Aqueduct the year he was voted grass champion male and later sired Breeders’ Cup winners Alphabet Soup and Tikkanen. Alphabet Soup beat the great Cigar, who was third, in the 1996 Classic (gr. I) at Woodbine, and Tikkanen captured the 1994 Turf (gr. IT) in course-record time at Churchill Downs. Cozzene was North America’s leading sire by progeny earnings the year of Alphabet Soup’s Classic win.
“Milers are great stallions,” said Beck, adding Cozzene had a fantastic temperament. “He was very sound, and he produced sound horses. They (his offspring) reward people enormously well. He was held in high regard in Europe, Japan, and the U.S.”
To date, Cozzene is represented by 81 stakes winners (9% from foals), as well as 79% starters and 59% winners from foals.
Cozzene sired Canadian champions Cozzene’s Prince, Hasten To Add, and Santa Amelia; English champion Environment Friend; Italian champion Grey Way; and Admire Cozzene, a three-time champion in Japan.
His other major winners include Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT) winner Star of Cozzene; grade I winners Star Over the Bay, Gaviola, Mizzen Mast , and Zoftig; Canadian classic winner Lodge Hill; and millionaire mare Maxzene.
“He was not just a sire of turf runners,” Beck said. “He has some cracking horses on both surfaces, on both turf and dirt. Look at Mizzen Mast, who won the Malibu (gr. I) and is a good sire.”
Cozzene is represented by the earners of $80 million and 156 stakes horses.
Cozzene raced as a homebred for Hall of Fame trainer John A. Nerud and was trained by Nerud’s son, Jan. He made his first nine starts on dirt, winning three of them, before being switched to grass. He took to the new surface right away by winning his first start and then running second in the United Nations Handicap (gr. IT). He contested the first Breeders’ Cup Mile, in 1984 at Hollywood Park, and ran third behind Royal Heroine and Star Choice.
For his career, Cozzene won 10 of 24 starts and earned $978,152. Nine of his 12 stakes wins and placings came on grass. He was produced from the Prince John mare Ride the Trails.
Beck said two other pensioned stallions—Mt. Livermore (age 27) and Broad Brush (25)—are still at Gainesway and “are both happy horses.”