El Prado, the horse that inspired Frank Stronach to get involved in the stallion business, died of an apparent heart attack in his paddock at Adena Springs near Paris, Ky. the morning of Sept. 21.
“It’s a very sad moment for us at the farm — we’re still in shell shock about the whole thing,” said Adena’s Dermot Carty. “On the other hand, what a great privilege for the Stronach family to have had a horse like this,” he added of the 20-year-old son of Sadler's Wells.
|More photos of El Prado.|
Carty said he bought El Prado privately for Stronach in the early 1990s from Coolmore Stud. Brereton Jones initially stood the stallion on Stronach’s behalf at his Airdrie Stud. When Stronach launched his Adena Spring’s stallion operation, El Prado was one of the first sires to stand there.
“No one wanted a son of Sadler’s Wells in America,” said Carty. “Everyone saw him as just a grass horse, but now he’s a broodmare sire, a sire of sires, and he’s made history. It was a gamble…to buy a son of Sadler’s Wells was a major move, but it paid off.”
El Prado won the 1991 National Stakes (Ire-I) and two other group races in his native Ireland en route to being named champion juvenile male in that country.
As a sire, El Prado’s most successful offspring include 2004 champion grass horse Kitten's Joy , grade winner and sensational young sire Medaglia d'Oro , 2005 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Artie Schiller , dual grade I winner Borrego, and numerous other graded stakes performers. Currently ranking 16th on the leading North American sires list, El Prado has had 62 winners from 151 runners this year, for 2009 progeny earnings of more than $4.5 million. His biggest winner this year is French group I victor Spanish Moon.
“El Prado helped put Adena on the map,” said Carty, who said the stallion had experienced declining fertility in recent years and had bred a little more than 40 mares in 2009 at a fee of $75,000.
Bred by Lyonstown Stud, El Prado raced for the late Robert Sangster while in Ireland and was purchased by Adena as a 4-year-old after his racing career had ended. Out of the Sir Ivor mare Lady Capulet, who captured the 1977 Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I), El Prado is a half-brother to group I producer All Ashore (by Nureyev) and Irish champion Entitled (by Mill Reef).
“There was a lot of speed in this family,” said Carty. (El Prado) wasn’t a typical Sadler’s Wells (physically). He was a very big, masculine individual who could cover a lot of ground. He was a very impressive horse.”