Is It True, the oldest Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner at stud in the U.S., died Feb. 22 at Walmac Farm near Lexington. The 21-year-old son of Raja Baba out of the Proudest Roman mare Roman Rockette, died from an apparent heart attack while in his paddock, farm officials said.
Bred in Kentucky by Warner L. Jones Jr., Is It True was a $550,000 purchase from the 1987 Keeneland July yearling sale. He reportedly received his name when Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas asked his pedigree while admiring his conformation. When told the colt was by Raja Baba, Lukas replied “Is it true?”
Trained by Lukas for Eugene and Joyce Klein, Is It True most famously upset subsequent champion 2-year-old male Easy Goer going gate to wire in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. He also won the following year's Jim Dandy (gr. II) and Riva Ridge (gr. III) Stakes, and earned a total of $819,999.
At the end of his 3-year-old year, Is It True was sold for $1 million at the Klein dispersal for stud duty in Australia. He stood five seasons exclusively Down Under, then spent the next five seasons as a dual hemisphere stallion, shuttling from Heytesbury Stud in West Australia to Walmac International in Kentucky. His second U.S. crop produced millionaire and grade I winner Yes It’s True, one of the leading young sires today. Is It True stood at Hartley / De Renzo, Walmac South near Ocala, Fla., from 2000 to 2005, before returning to Walmac Kentucky in 2006.
From 14 crops to race, Is It True has sired 26 stakes winners, 35 stakes-placed runners, and the earners of $19 million.
“Is It True was a grand horse, one of the last links to Bold Ruler through a line other than Seattle Slew,” said Walmac managing partner John T.L. Jones III. “Although he was also one of the first of the shuttle stallions, he will always be remembered for his defeat of Easy Goer in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, not to mention the upset he caused in the process. He had a long and successful career which has included siring the promising young sire Yes It’s True, and we are honored to have been associated with him.”