Favorite Trick, the 1997 Horse of the Year, died in a barn fire Tuesday.

Favorite Trick, the 1997 Horse of the Year, died in a barn fire Tuesday.

Philippe Roca

Favorite Trick, Saratoga Six Die in Barn Fire

Favorite Trick, the 1997 Horse of the Year as a 2-year-old, and Saratoga Six, a grade I winner, died last night in a barn fire at Jim and Marilyn Helzer's JEH Stallion Station near Hondo, N.M. They were among six stallions, including three Quarter Horses, that died in the blaze.

"It came about 9:00 last night," said farm manager Dr. Donald McDonald. "The night watchman came to check the stallions about 30 minutes before. Everything was fine, and he turned out the lights. At 9:00, he came out of another barn and saw the stallion barn engulfed with flames. They didn't have a chance."

An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.

Eleven-year-old Favorite Trick began his stallion career at John T.L. Jones Jr.'s Walmac International near Lexington and later stood at John Sykes' Cloverleaf Farms II in Florida.

Twenty-four-year-old Saratoga Six started out at Franklin Groves' North Ridge Farm near Lexington, then later stood at Walmac. Each stood at JEH for a syndicate.

Favorite Trick (Phone Trick--Evil Elaine, by Medieval Man) was undefeated the year he was Horse of the Year for Joseph LaCombe and was the first juvenile to be accorded that honor since Secretariat in 1972. Trained by Pat Byrne, Favorite Trick scored his big win in the 1997 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Favorite Trick raced through age three and was retired with a dozen wins from 16 starts and earnings of $1,726,793.

Favorite Trick was enjoying a fine year. This year, he ranked third on the state sire list by progeny earnings and is represented by four stakes winners. They include two-time added-money winner Yucatan, who won the June 3 Texas Glitter Handicap on turf at Churchill Downs. Favorite Trick has sired a career total of 16 stakes winners and the earners of $8.4 million. His 2006 fee was $4,000.

Favorite Trick's death came shortly after the death of 1997 champion 2-year-old filly Countess Diana, who also was trained by Byrne.

Saratoga Six, who was sold to trainer D. Wayne Lukas for $2.2 million at the 1983 Saratoga yearling sale, was undefeated as a 2-year-old in his sole year of racing. His big win came in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) for a partnership that included L.R. French Jr. and Eugene Klein. He retired with four wins and earnings of $304,940.

As a stallion, Saratoga Six (Alydar--Priceless Fame, by Irish Castle) is represented by 40 stakes winners and the earners of $25 million. His added-money winners include grade I winner Toga Toga Toga and grade III winner Saratoga Gambler. His 2006 fee was $1,800.

Gone Hollywood, a 12-year-old son of Gone West out of the Relaunch mare Existentialist, is represented by multiple stakes winner Hollywood Gone. He stood for $1,500.

The Quarter Horse stallions were Fredricksburg, Southern Cartel, and The Down Side.