Event of the Year, who turned heads with his five-length victory in the 1998 Jim Beam Stakes (gr. II), died last year in Venezuela.
Mauricio Azar of Gran Derby, where Event of the Year had been standing in Venezuela, said the son of Seattle Slew died in January 2012 after a bout with colic. Event of the Year was 17.
Azar said Event of the Year has two small crops at Gran Derby and the farm has high expectations as the first foals are scheduled to begin racing this month.
A homebred for the late couple John and Betty Mabee's Golden Eagle Farm, Event of the Year was one of the favorites for the 1998 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) after he unleashed a devastating move in the far turn of the Jim Beam to easily secure the top Kentucky Derby prep race Turfway Park. Trained by eventual Racing Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer and with eventual Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze as his regular rider, Event of the Year improved to four wins in four starts with his Jim Beam victory.
But in late April that year while training for the Derby at Churchill Downs, Event of the Year suffered a fractured right knee and missed the Triple Crown races.
The injury did not end Event of the Year's racing career as he returned on opening day at Santa Anita Park that year and finished third in the Malibu Stakes. At age 4, Event of the Year won the Strub Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita for trainer Richard Mandella and jockey Corey Nakatani and finished second in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
For most of Event of the Year's stallion career, he stood in California at Golden Eagle Farm and then Magali Farms. He boasts 138 winners from his first 10 crops of racing age including stakes winners Thrilling Victory, Kalookan Year, Follow the Rainbow, and Sterling Cat.
Ian Tapp contributed to this story.