Lee Thomas

Champion Vindication Dead

Son of Seattle Slew was one of the leading second-crop sires.

Champion Vindication, one of this year’s leading second-crop sires, was euthanized because of complications from colic. The 8-year-old syndicated son of Seattle Slew was taken Wednesday to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington.

Vindication, who stood for $60,000 at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms near Lexington, ranks ninth on this year’s second-crop sires list, with the earners of $1 million. For his career, he has sired eight runners that have won or placed in stakes.

"Vindication was observed to be uncomfortable in his stall around 9:30 p.m.," Sikura said. "He was immediately sent to Rood & Riddle after brief observation. Dr. Embertson decided to do an exploratory surgery after doing a diagnostic evaluation of the horse. It was at that time that he discovered a gastric rupture which was inoperable and the horse was euthanized."

Vindication was voted champion 2-year-old male of 2002 for Satish and Anne Sanan’s Padua Stables after winning the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Unbeaten in four races that year, he also captured the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes (gr. III) and earned $680,950. That December, Hill ‘n’ Dale bought a portion of the breeding rights in Vindication.

“He was so highly thought of,” said the Sanans’ son, Sasha. “He had a very bright future.”

Vindication’s training for the 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) was compromised because of an injury to the colt’s left front suspensory over the winter. He never started again and was retired from racing that summer. Bob Baffert trained him.

Bred by Payson Stud, Vindication was produced from the graded stakes-winning Strawberry Road mare Strawberry Reason, also the dam of graded stakes winner Scipion. Vindication was bought by Padua for $2.15 million at the 2001 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale from Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.