Niigon, Won Queen's Plate, Dies

Queen's Plate winner turned into a solid stallion in Canada.

Niigon, winner of the 2004 Queen's Plate Stakes at Woodbine, died Oct. 14 after suffering a broken femur in his stall at Colebrook Farms Stallion Station near Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada. The 11-year-old stallion by Unbridled was owned by Chiefswood Stable.

A Chiefswood homebred trained by Eric Coatrieux, Niigon finished second in the Plate Trial Stakes at Woodbine to A Bit O'Gold and then defeated that rival in the classic Queen's Plate. Squaring off in the classic Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie the following month, A Bit O'Gold beat Niigon by a head. Despite Niigon's victory in Canada's greatest classic, A Bit O'Gold was named champion 3-year-old male.

The 145th Queen's Plate was Niigon's sole stakes victory. He placed in seven stakes including the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course in which he finished fourth but was moved to third. Mostly ridden by Robert Landry, Niigon was retired with a record of 4-7-3 from 23 starts and earnings of $1,099,532.

Niigon, whose oldest runners are 4, has sired the last two winners of the Eternal Search Stakes at Woodbine. Niigon's Touch won last year's running, and It's Gail captured this year's renewal. Niigon's other stakes winners are Seen It All Before, winner of this year's Vice Regent Stakes on turf, plus Gray Minute and Reconnect. Niigon ranks second this year on Canada's third-crop sires' list with progeny earnings of more than $1.9 million. His career total is more than $3.7 million.

Out of the stakes-placed Nureyev mare Savethelastdance, Niigon is a half brother to Sue's Last Dance, dam of New York grade I winner Island Sand.