Champion Capote, a son of Seattle Slew, was euthanized Aug. 24 at Robert N. Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky. The 23-year-old pensioned stallion was buried at his home of the past 16 years.
"While his appetite and spirits were remarkably good to his last day, Capote's coordination had declined to the point that he presented a danger to himself and others," said Three Chimneys Farm president Dan Rosenberg. "The spinal cord problems finally became too much for him to deal with, but he lived with that condition for four years without surgery. Capote had a good life."
Capote, who stood his first four seasons at stud (1989-1992) at Calumet Farm near Lexington, sired 62 stakes winners and the earners of more than $38.25 million. He was the leading freshman sire by progeny earnings in 1991 and second among all sires of 2-year-olds that year. Two of his sons, Boston Harbor in North America and Basim in Ireland, were champion 2-year-olds, and another, Surfing Home, was a South African Horse of the Year.
He also sired Japanese millionaires Select Green and T.H. Grace, and grade I winners Capote Belle, Matty G., Capdiva, and Agincourt.
Boston Harbor's big win, in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), came 10 years after his sire captured that race and the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) the year he was a champion for Barry Beal, L.R. French, and Eugene Klein.
Thus far in 2007, he has been represented by stakes winners including Ticket to Seattle, Dance Away Capote, and Lovango.
In August, 2003, Capote began showing signs of neurological problems and was ultimately diagnosed with spinal cord compression. He was retired from stud duty in November, 2003.
"Nobody would ever call Capote a sweetheart, but he had a strong will and I'm sure that determination gets some of the credit for his longevity," said Three Chimneys stallion manager Sandy Hatfield.
Capote arrived at Three Chimneys on Christmas Eve 1991 as part of the dissolution of Calumet Farm. The transfer followed a court hearing and the auction in which Calumet's 50% interest was sold to Beal, French, and Klein, who were exercising their right of first refusal. A majority interest in Capote later that year was sold to John Kluge's Morven Stud. French and Beal continued to be part owners of Capote.
Bred by North Ridge Farm, Capote was bought by trainer D. Wayne Lukas for $800,000 at the 1985 Keeneland July yearling sale. During two years of racing, he won three of 10 races and earned $714,470. A half-brother to millionaire Exceller and three other stakes winners, Capote was produced from Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Too Bald (by Bald Eagle).