Princess Rooney won the inaugural Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I)

Princess Rooney won the inaugural Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I)

Tony Leonard

Champion Princess Rooney Dead

Champion Princess Rooney dead at age 28

Eclipse Award winner Princess Rooney was euthanized at Gentry Brothers Farm near Lexington Oct. 7 due to complications of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). She was 28.

Burial plans for Princess Rooney, who was cremated, are incomplete at this time.

Princess Rooney was diagnosed with EPM at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital Aug. 1 and was put on medication for the disease, which attacks a horse’s central nervous system.

Matt Howard, general manager of Gentry Brothers Farm, said after Princess Rooney’s medication cycle ended the EPM continued to progress.

“It (EPM) was deteriorating the muscles, and we just didn’t want her to be in any pain and we didn’t want her to suffer,” said Howard. “Myself, the vet, and the owner decided it was time to go ahead and put her down because we didn’t want something drastic to happen in the next few days.”

Since being pensioned, Princess Rooney had filled the role of babysitter to the yearling fillies at Gentry Brothers. She took up residence at the farm in November 1995.  Watch the video of Princess Rooney at Gentry Farm.

“It was a blast having her. She was always mild-mannered and calm,” Howard said. “She did wonders with the yearlings. I think she did more with our yearling fillies than anyone could teach them. We would start weaning our fillies and send them over to her, and she would keep them in line and teach them exactly what they need to do. She taught the younger generation how to be a good horse. I think if we had more mares like her my job would be a lot easier.”

By Verbatim, Princess Rooney scored her biggest win in 1984 in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Hollywood Park for Paula Tucker the year she was champion older female. The winner of four other grade I stakes, Princess Rooney is a member of the Racing Hall of Fame. She retired with a record of 17-2-1 from 21 starts and earnings of $1,343,339.

Princess Rooney, who is out of the Drone mare Parrish Princess, produced her last foal in 2004. By Chester House, that gelding, House of Words, is a winner this year.

Two of Princess Rooney’s daughters, Rooneys Princess and Rose Tiara, are broodmares at Gentry Brothers.

Watch Princess Rooney's triumph in the 1984 Breeders' Cup Distaff.