Champion Little Current Dead at Age 32

Little Current, who won the 1974 Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont (gr. I) Stakes the year he was champion 3-year-old male, was euthanized Jan. 19 at age 32 after a bout with colic. The son of Sea-Bird had resided since 1995 at Drs. Mark and Ann Hansen's farm near Monroe, Wash.

A confirmed closer, Little Current won the Preakness and Belmont by seven lengths each as a homebred for John Galbreath of Darby Dan Farm. His Preakness triumph in the time of 1:54 3/5 equaled what was then the third-fastest time in the race's history.

Little Current's closing style had failed to serve him as well in a crowded Kentucky Derby (gr. I) field. He finished fifth against 22 rivals.

Little Current raced three more times after the Belmont and failed to win. He was retired because of a bone chip and entered stud at Darby Dan near Lexington in 1974. He had won four of 16 races, his other added-money win coming in the Everglades Stakes (gr. II) that March, and earned $354,704. He was syndicated for $4 million.

Little Current sired 35 stakes winners. His runners scored graded wins on both dirt and turf, and two of them, Current Hope and Prize Spot, were grade I winners. One of his added-money winners, Curribot, became a fan favorite in the Southwest by winning 21 stakes there.

Following his years of stallion duty at Darby Dan, Little Current stood at Doug Arnold's Buck Pond Farm near Lexington and later at George Oechsner's Good Guys Farm in Louisiana before heading to Washington. Mark Hansen had taken a liking to Little Current while watching his races and reading about him. Little Current was one of three stakes winners produced from his dam, Luiana (by My Babu).

Little Current's death came shortly after the death of 1981 Derby/Preakness winner Pleasant Colony. The oldest Derby winner and Preakness winner now is 1979 winner Spectacular Bid, who resides in New York State. The oldest Belmont winner is believed to be 1979 winner Coastal, who at last report resides in South Africa.

Read more about Little Current in Barbara D. Livingston's Old Friends