Eclipse Award winner The Wicked North was euthanized March 24 at Hagyard Equine Medical Center near Lexington because of complications from an intestinal lipoma strangulation.
Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement center near Georgetown, Ky., made the announcement the morning of March 24. The Wicked North had resided at Old Friends since 2008.
“He was a great champion," said Blowen about the 22-year-old horse. "He was fine last night, but Kent Ralstin, our assistant farm manager, discovered his discomfort early this morning. The Wicked North had a ton of class. And it was all on display at the end.”
The Wicked North (Far North--Wicked Witchcraft, by Good Behaving) won eight of 17 starts and earned $1,180,750 while trained by David Bernstein. He was bred in Kentucky by Edward Zurek.
Racing for Philip and Sophie Hersh Trust his champion season in 1994, The Wicked North captured the Californian Stakes (gr. I) in track-record time, the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I), and the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II). He finished first in that year’s Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) but was disqualified for interference and placed fourth.
After the Californian, The Wicked North suffered a suspensory injury in the 1994 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) that ended his racing career. As a stallion, The Wicked North stood in California, New York, and lastly at True North Farm in Kentucky. He sired two stakes winners. In 2006 he suffered a near-fatal bout of EPM (equine protozoal myeloencephalitis) that ended his stud duties.
At Old Friends, the handsome chestnut was known for his kind demeanor and easy-going personality, and he quickly became a fan favorite. Kent Desormeaux, who rode The Wicked North in the horse’s biggest wins, was among his frequent visitors.