Renowned international sire Dynaformer dies

Sire of 130 stakes winners was pensioned April 13.

One of the breed's premier stallions, Dynaformer, passed away at the age of 27 at Robert and Blythe Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Kentucky, Sunday. The stallion had been pensioned after suffering an aortic valve rupture the afternoon of April 14 while in his stall.

Known internationally for siring such top-class athletes as Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, Group 1 Melbourne Cup winner Americain, $4.7 million-earner Perfect Drift, European champion two-tear-old filly Rainbow View, English champion three-year-old colt Lucarno, multiple Grade 1 winner Riskaverse, multi-millionaire Dynever and many others, Dynaformer will be remembered as one of the most prolific sires the Thoroughbred breed has ever seen.

"Dynaformer impacted the industry in a way that few ever have or will," Three Chimneys President Case Clay said. "More than that, though, he was an awe-inspiring horse to be around. He commanded respect and his toughness was undeniable to the very end. He reminded me a lot of Seattle Slew in that when you were around him, you knew you were in the presence of greatness."

After suffering the significant cardiac episode two weeks ago, Dynaformer was immediately pensioned from stallion duty. After Dynaformer had been stabilized, an ultrasound performed on April 15 revealed several holes in his heart as a result of the heart attack, one measuring eight centimeters long and two others measuring two centimeters each.

Dynaformer had been resting comfortably, eating well, and maintaining his daily turnout routine in the weeks following his heart scare, but his health took a turn on Saturday evening.

"Dynaformer told us when it was his time to go," said Dr. Jim Morehead, Three Chimneys' resident veterinarian. "Amazingly, he had been comfortable after his initial crisis on April 14 and had been able to go to his paddock daily. A normal horse would not have survived his initial cardiac episode. He did everything on his terms, including deciding when he'd had enough."

Dynaformer was without question one of the most globally successful sires in the Thoroughbred industry. With 21 crops to race, his progeny have earned more than $105 million. Dynaformer is the sire of 130 stakes winners, including 61 graded stakes winners, 25 Grade 1 stakes winners, and 18 millionaires. These numbers are the best in each respective category of all active sires.

Dynaformer ranks in the top one-half of one percent of all sires by average earnings per starter.

"Dynaformer's tough spirit will continue to influence our breed for many years to come. He reminds us that looks aren't everything, and that the will to win is that intangible ingredient we are all striving to find," farm owner Robert Clay said.

The caliber and quantity of races won by progeny of Dynaformer is unprecedented. Sons or daughters of Dynaformer have won such Grade/Group 1 events as the Kentucky Derby, One Thousand Guineas, Melbourne Cup, Irish Oaks, Stephen Foster Handicap, English St. Leger, German Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, American Oaks, Hollywood Derby, Shadwell Turf Mile, Santa Margarita Invitational, Flower Bowl Invitational, Santa Maria Handicap, Yorkshire Oaks, Beverly D. Stakes, Diana Handicap, Florida Derby, Hempstead Handicap, Gazelle Handicap, Matriarch Stakes and numerous other black-type events.

Four of his daughters have won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland's fall meet, a record for any stallion.

"He commanded respect and total attention at all times," said Sandy Hatfield, Three Chimneys' stallion manager. "He had earned every bit of his reputation as being one of the toughest stallions in the industry, but when it came to his job in the breeding shed, he was a total professional. In my opinion, our industry has lost one of the greatest sires it will ever see."

Known not only for his propensity to sire high-caliber racers, but also his curmudgeon-like attitude, Dynaformer had legions of fans both within the Thoroughbred business and among the general equestrian community.

Dynaformer's progeny were known for their soundness, durability, and heart. They not only excelled on the flat, but over jumps as well. His son, McDynamo, is the winner of an unprecedented five Breeders' Cup Steeplechase races, and countless other sons and daughters went onto successful post-racing careers in the show ring and as field hunters.

"I was always on the lookout for offspring of Dynaformer as flat and steeplechase horses," Thoroughbred owner/breeder and show horse owner Ann Banks said. "They were the full package; good bone, athleticism, fabulous movers, and a flexibility and natural movement like no other. The breeding industry, the flat and steeplechase industries, and the show world have truly lost one of their greatest producers."

Dynaformer will be impacting the Thoroughbred breed for decades to come. His daughters have produced 78 stakes winners and that number grows month-by-month.

Dynaformer, whose passing came on what would have been the ninth birthday of his most famous son, Barbaro, will be buried in the Three Chimneys stallion cemetery next to stablemates Rahy and Wild Again.

The public is invited to pay their respects to Dynaformer during the annual Three Chimneys Derby Week Open House on Thursday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. (EDT). A memorial service for Dynaformer will be held at 12:30 during the event in the stallion cemetery.