Flanders, whose hard fought victory in the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) was chosen by readers of The Blood-Horse as the race of the year, was euthanized in mid-February because of complications following a paddock accident at John Magnier and partners’ Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.
Magnier had purchased Flanders in foal to Bernardini for $400,000 from the Young family’s Overbrook Farm (Eaton Sales, agent) at the 2009 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Her newborn Bernardini offspring, a colt, is on a nurse mare.
“We were very sorry to hear about Flanders’ injury and passing,” said Overbrook’s consultant Ric Waldman. “She was a very special mare and was largely responsible for the meteoric rise of the farm.”
Racing as a homebred for Overbrook founder William. T. Young, Flanders finished first in all five races during her championship 2-year-old season. After breaking her maiden by 7 1/2 lengths at Saratoga in her debut, she won the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at the historic track, then finished first in the Matron Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. Prior to her next scheduled race, the Oct. 8 Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont, Flanders tested positive for the prohibited therapeutic drug isoxuprine and was disqualified from her Matron triumph and placed last.
In the Frizette, Flanders scored by a staggering 21 lengths. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas then sent the daughter of Seeking the Gold to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
The stronger half of the favored 2-5 entry under regular rider Pat Day, Flanders engaged in a raging battle with Serena’s Song and prevailed by a head in what would be her final start. She came out of the race with a condylar fracture of the cannon bone and a fractured sesamoid. She underwent surgery and was retired in early 1995 with earnings of $805,000.
Young, accepting an Eclipse Award for Flanders’ achievements, said, “We’ll never know how good she really was.”
Young also received an Eclipse Award as the outstanding breeder of 1994.
Flanders’ first foal came up golden. Surfside, an Overbrook homebred by Seattle Slew, was voted champion 3-year-old filly of 2000 after winning the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) and the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) and finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I). She also had beaten males in winning the Clark Handicap (gr. II). At 2, she won the Frizette and Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I).
Flanders, out of the Storm Bird mare Starlet Storm, produced 13 foals, 10 of which are by Seattle Slew or his male-line descendants, including Bernardini. Eight of her 11 named foals are winners.
Flanders’ second-youngest offspring, a yearling Bernardini filly, was sold as a weanling as part of the Overbrook consignment to Hubert Guy, agent, for $440,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale.
Esther Marr contributed to this article.