Air Forbes Won, the 1982 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite who sired 49 stakes winners, was euthanized Nov. 19 at age 30 because of complications from the infirmities of old age. He resided at John J. Greely III’s Wintergreen Farm near Midway, Ky., where he had stood at stud.
Campaigned by Edward Anchel, Air Forbes Won was a hot item going into the Run for the Roses, a race won by his sire, Bold Forbes, in 1976. Air Forbes Won had captured all four starts, including the Wood Memorial (gr. I) and Gotham (gr. II) Stakes, and was attempting to became the fifth Wood Memorial winner since 1975 to win the Derby and the second Ohio-bred to win the historic event (the first was Wintergreen in 1909). Bold Forbes won the 1976 Wood.
Sent off at 5-2, Air Forbes Won shared the lead with the filly Cupecoy’s Joy and El Baba near the quarter pole but weakened and finished ninth behind winner Gato Del Sol. Air Forbes Won missed the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont (gr. I) Stakes, then finished second in the Pennsylvania (gr. III) and Ohio (gr. II) Derbys. He came out of the last race with a tendon injury and was retired shortly after. Trained by Frank LaBoccetta, he exited with four wins from seven starts and earnings of $237,700. He was syndicated for $60,000 a share.
Air Forbes Won’s stakes winners include grade I winners Mercedes Won and Yanks Music. A millionaire, Mercedes Won was Canada’s champion 2-year-old male of 1988 and was a leading juvenile in the United States. He won the Hopeful (gr. I) and Sanford (gr. II) Stakes at Saratoga. At 3, he captured the Florida Derby (gr. I).
Yanks Music was voted champion 3-year-old filly of 1996 after exhibiting a show of force in New York. She won the Alabama, Beldame, and Mother Goose Stakes and the Ruffian Handicap, all grade I events.
Air Forbes Won sired a career total of 100 stakes horses and the earners of $29.4 million.
Bred by Howard B. Noonan, Air Forbes Won was produced from the Tobin Bronze mare Bronze Point.