Champion, Record-Priced Yearling Wajima Euthanized at Age 29

Champion, Record-Priced Yearling Wajima Euthanized at Age 29
Photo: Barbara D. Livingston
Wajima, enjoying his retirement at Stone Farm.
Pensioned stallion Wajima, a former-record priced yearling who was champion 3-year-old male in 1975, was euthanized at Arthur B. Hancock III's Stone Farm near Paris, Ky., because of complications from the infirmities of old age. A member of the last crop of foals sired by Bold Ruler, Wajima was 29 and had been pensioned since 1992.

Wajima was bred by Hancock's father, A.B. (Bull) Hancock Jr., in the name of his Claiborne Farm and consigned to the 1973 Keeneland July yearling sale, where James Scully bought the horse for himself and others for $600,000. The syndicate included prominent Japanese breeder Zenya Yoshida.

Named after a Japanese Sumo wrestler and campaigned in the name of East-West Stable, Wajima ran first or second in 14 of his 16 starts and earned $537,837. As a 3-year-old, he beat reigning Horse of the Year Forego and that year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Foolish Pleasure in both the Governor Stakes (gr. I) and Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap (gr. I) in consecutive starts. He also scored grade I wins in that year's Travers Stakes and Monmouth Invitational Handicap against 3-year-olds.

Wajima, who was produced from the La Haar mare Iskra, entered stud at Leslie Combs II's Spendthrift Farm near Lexington in 1976. Combs' son, Brownell, had syndicated Wajima for a then-record $200,000 per share in the fall of 1975. Wajima stood there until he was moved to Stone during the early part of the 1987 breeding season.

As a stallion, Wajima sired 26 stakes winners, including Canadian champion and classic winner Key to the Moon and the popular Kentucky racemare Excitable Lady. His other runners include graded stakes-winning distaffers Give Me a Hint, Pretty Perfect, and Polite Rebuff, plus additional Canadian classic winner Crowning Honors.

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