Joy Gilbert / Hill 'n' Dale Farm

Theatrical, Champion and Leading Sire, Dies

Hill 'n' Dale stallion was 30; 1987 Breeders' Cup Turf winner had 22 grade I winners.

Breeders' Cup champion Theatrical, raced by the late Allen E. Paulson, was euthanized on the night of Aug. 31 due to the infirmities of old age, Hill 'n' Dale Farms announced. He was 30.

Sire of 22 grade I winners and 14 lifetime millionaires, Theatrical was pensioned in 2009. The son of Nureyev out of Tree Of Knowledge won the 1987 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) and was named the Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top turf horse.

"We were honored to stand Theatrical and have him at Hill 'n' Dale for the past 11 years," said John G. Sikura, president of Hill 'n' Dale Farms, in a release. "He was not only a great stallion, but had become like a member of our family. Our staff has done a fantastic job with the horse and cared for him so personally in his retirement, hand grazing him and tending to his every need.

"I want to thank Michael Paulson for giving us the opportunity to stand this wonderful horse. I'd also like to thank the entire Theatrical syndicate for their support."

Theatrical was bred in Ireland by Bert and Dina Firestone, who raced him in Europe and later in the United States with Paulson. He was later bought in full by Paulson and began his stud career at Paulson's Brookside Farm near Versailles, Ky. In 2001, following Paulson's death, Theatrical was moved to Hill 'n' Dale Farm, near Lexington.

A winner of 10 of 22 career starts, Theatrical earned $2,940,036. His career took off when he was moved to the U.S., winning an astounding six grade I races in 1987 with Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. His season and racing career ended with a thrilling victory over European superstar Trempolino at Hollywood Park in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Theatrical started his six-pack of grade I wins in the Hialeah Turf Cup in South Florida, then went to Belmont Park. After winning the Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT), he took the 1 3/8-mile Bowling Green (gr. IT) and the 12-furlong Sword Dancer (gr. IT), which he won via disqualification over Dance of Life. After a third-place finish behind Manila and Sharrood in the Budweiser-Arlington Million (gr. IT), Theatrical returned to New York to add the Turf Classic (gr. IT) and Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) prior to the Breeders' Cup.

Theatrical sired 81 stakes winners, offering a strong dose of stamina to his offspring. Among his top runners were three-time Japanese champion Hishi Amazon, Irish champion 3-year-old male Zagreb, Irish champion filly Theoretically, and French classic winner Madeleine's Dream. He was also the sire of top North American runners and millionaires Royal Anthem, Geri, Astra, Shakespeare, and Mrs. Lindsay.

Theatrical's influence reached around the globe as well. He sired 2002 Toohey's New Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) winner Media Puzzle.

He has also enjoyed commercial success throughout his stud career with yearlings selling for $4 million, $2.2 million, and $2 million, and proved to be a top broodmare sire.