Hall of Fame member and champion sprinter Safely Kept was euthanized the morning of April 22 at Lyn Burleson's Burleson Farms near Midway, Ky., due to the infirmities of old age. She was 28.
Bred in Maryland by Mr. and Mrs. David Hayden, the bay daughter of Horatius—Safely Home, by Winning Hit, raced four years, won 24 of 31 starts, and accumulated earnings of $2,194,206.
Owned by Barry Weisbord and Richard Santulli's Jayeff B Stable and trained by Alan Goldberg, Safely Kept won four of her five starts as a 2-year-old in 1988 and then took eight of her nine races at age 3 to earn the Eclipse Award as champion sprinter. Among her wins during that campaign were the Test Stakes (gr. I), the Genuine Risk Handicap, and the Prioress Stakes (both gr. II).
At 4, Safely Kept won eight of 10 races with seven of those victories in stakes events. In one of the great stretch runs in Breeder's Cup history, she defeated a star-studded field in the 1990 BC Sprint (gr. I) topping European champion Dayjur.
Safely Kept concluded her career with five wins in seven starts as a 5-year-old in 1991, including her third victories in the Genuine Risk Handicap, Maryland Million Distaff, and Garden State Stakes Handicap.
"She was life altering," said Weisbord, who privately acquired Safely Kept from Dark Hollow Farm after her third start as a 2-year-old, and later sold a share of the filly to Santulli, a then-new acquaintance. "Twenty-five years later, Richard and I still own many horses and businesses together and Al has kept training for us. We all live near each other, play golf together, and go to the races together. She changed our lives. Besides all the thrills she gave us, the fact she brought all of us together is the gift that will keep on giving."
As a broodmare, Safely Kept produced eight winners from 10 foals, including stakes winners Contrast (by Unbridled) and Peace Chant (by War Chant). Her last reported offspring is an unraced 4-year-old Empire Maker filly named Here to Stay.
"She'll be in pedigrees for decades to come," Weisbord said. "I ended up selling my part of her to Richard (after her racing career ended) so I could buy a house, and her portrait stood over my fireplace.
"We were able to take a family portrait (with Safely Kept) last Friday...we knew she was reaching the end of her career...so we all went down and said goodbye. That portrait will be over the fireplace in the new house. It was very special. We owe massive thanks to Burleson and his crew for taking care of her for 20 years. She was taken care of like the queen she is."
Safely Kept was buried at Burleson Farm, where she had resided since 1999.