Polish Navy, a grade I winner and sire of 1993 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Sea Hero, was euthanized Jan. 6 at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement facility near Georgetown, Ky. He had been suffering from complications from a hip injury.
“Polish Navy injured his hip several weeks ago and was taken to Hagyard’s, where he received excellent diagnostic care,” said Old Friend president Michael Blowen. “Unfortunately, he just never recovered. Dr. Doug Byars visited with this great old horse several times and, in consultation with Old Friends, advised us that Polish Navy’s time had come.”
The 27-year-old son of Danzig had been pensioned at Old Friends since 2009.
Polish Navy was a racing leader for breeder/owner Ogden Phipps the two years he raced. At 2 in 1986 he won the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and the Cowdin Stakes (gr. I).
Knee surgery kept Polish Navy off the Triple Crown trail, but that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the best following his return. He won the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga and two races later captured the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-olds and up, defeating Gulch and Crème Fraiche. During the year, he placed in four graded events, including the Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap (gr. I) and the Travers Stakes (gr. I).
Polish Navy was retired with seven wins from a dozen starts and earnings of $1,118,076.
Despite Polish Navy’s brilliance, the colt’s feats were sometimes overshadowed by another Phipps homebred, unbeaten filly Personal Ensign. Both were trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by Randy Romero.
“I absolutely loved riding him,” said the Hall of Fame jockey from his home in Louisiana. “It was an honor to be associated with such a wonderful horse.”
Polish Navy entered stud at the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky., which is where he sired Paul Mellon's Sea Hero. The homebred colt won not only the 1993 Run for the Roses but also the Travers. Polish Navy later stood at Hayata Farm in Japan and at Nathan Fox’s Wafare Farm near Lexington following his return from overseas. He sired 17 stakes winners, including Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) winner Ghazi.
Polish Navy’s dam , Navsup (by Tatan), is a half sister to Phipps’ great homebred Horse of the Year Buckpasser.
Fox, who now owns Richland Hills near Lexington, donated Polish Navy to Old Friends.