Champion sprinter Housebuster, romping in a paddock in 2004.

Champion sprinter Housebuster, romping in a paddock in 2004.

Barbara D. Livingston

Champion Sprinter Housebuster Dead

By David Schmitz and
Ron MItchell

Housebuster, the last two-time Eclipse Award-winning sprinter, died May 15.

Donna Hayes, syndicate manager for the stallion, said he was taken to a veterinary clinic, where he died later. As of Tuesday, May 17, the cause of death was still unknown, Hayes said.

Housebuster covered 42 of the 65 mares booked to him.

The 18-year-old son of Mt. Livermore out of the Great Above mare Big Dreams stood at the Funkhouser family's O'Sullivan Farms near Charles Town, W.Va. He is represented as a stallion by 32 career stakes winners.

Trained first by Ronald Benshoff, then by Warren A. "Jimmy" Croll Jr., Housebuster won 15 of 22 races and earned $1,229,696 while never racing beyond a mile. He captured 14 stakes, 11 of which were graded, including the Carter (gr. I), Vosburgh (gr. I), and Jerome (gr. I) Handicaps.

Housebuster experienced wide margin wins in several of his races. He won the Jerome by 13 lengths, the Lafayette Stakes (gr. III) by 11, the Morven Breeders' Cup Stakes by seven, and the Vosburgh, Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III), and Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes by five or more. In the last-named, he went the six furlongs in 1:08.76.

Housebuster nearly ran off with the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) his 3-year-old season in 1990. Fresh off a win in the Withers (gr. II), Housebuster finished a neck behind subsequent Horse of the Year Criminal Type, with Easy Goer third.

Bred in Kentucky by Murphy Stable and Blanche P. Levy, Housebuster raced for Levy's son, Robert P. Levy. A champion sprinter in 1990-91, he became the first horse to win two sprint titles since Great Above's dam, Ta Wee, in 1969-70.

Housebuster, who missed the 1990 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) because of an injury, was retired due to an injury in the following year's Sprint and entered stud for $20,000 in 1992 at John A. Bell III's Jonabell Farm near Lexington. Housebuster sired several good runners from his first few crops, but his fee dropped to $7,500 in 1998. He was sold later that year to Japanese breeders to stand at East Stud.

Housebuster returned to the United States in 2001 after he was bought by Hayes' The Stallion Co. He stood the 2002 season at the Grayson family's Blue Ridge Farm near Upperville, Va., and was based there until he was moved to O'Sullivan for 2005.

Housebuster, who shuttled to New Zealand and Argentina, sired such top runners as Hong Kong Horse of the Year and twice champion miler Electronic Unicorn, English group I winner Bahamian Pirate, and U.S.-based millionaire Morluc. His progeny earnings are $36 million.