Yanks Music, the 1996 champion 3-year-old filly, was euthanized May 15 because of intestinal problems discovered after she colicked. The 15-year-old Air Forbes Won mare was owned by Frank Stronach and kept at his Adena Springs Kentucky near Paris. She was in foal to Thunder Gulch at the time of her death.
Trainer Leo O’Brien felt Yanks Music was so good her 3-year-old season that he nominated her to both the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and Distaff (gr. I), with the Classic being the first preference. The fact that 1995 Horse of the Year and defending Classic winner Cigar also was nominated didn’t scare O’Brien.
“She was the best horse, male or female, I ever trained,” he said. “She had beaten all the fillies that year, and looked like she wouldn’t have any problem with the Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles.”
Against fellow 3-year-old fillies, Yanks Music won the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) over Escena and Cara Rafaela, and the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) over Escena and My Flag. Following the Alabama win at Saratoga, Yanks Music faced the previous year’s champion 3-year-old filly Serena’s Song in both the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) and Beldame Stakes (gr. I) and beat her in both.
Yanks Music sprained an ankle training for the Classic, run that year at Woodbine, and missed the event. Cigar ran another great race in the Classic, but finished third behind surprise winner Alphabet Soupand Louis Quatorze in a blanket finish.
Owned by Audrey H. Cooper and Michael Fennessy, Yanks Music was retired from racing in January 1997 after reinjuring her ankle and was bred to Storm Cat. She had won seven of nine races and earned $787,600. She ran second in the 1996 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) and Monmouth Breeders’ Cup Oaks (gr. II).
“She had her game face each time she was being saddled," O’Brien said. “I think it psyched out her opponents.”
Stronach bought Yanks Music (in foal to Storm Cat) for $1 million at the 1997 Keeneland November breeding stock sale from Aghern House Stud. As a broodmare, Yanks Music hardly measured up to what she had accomplished on the racetrack. In her first eight years as a broodmare (1998-2005), she produced only three named foals, one of which won.
Since then, Yanks Music produced an El Pradofilly named Girl Can Rock in 2006 and an Ontario-bred Smart Strike colt foaled Feb. 11. Stronach owns an Adena Springs division in Ontario.
Yanks Music was bred in Kentucky by Irish American Bloodhorse Agency and was out of the Darby Creek Road mare Traipsing.