Champion Dr. Patches Dead at 28

Champion Dr. Patches was euthanized Tuesday due to the infirmities of old age. The nation's top sprinter in 1978, Dr. Patches was 28 and spent most of his non-racing days at Tartan Farms near Ocala, Fla. He was buried in the Tartan/Mockingbird cemetery, which is now part of Eugene Melnyk's Winding Oaks Farm.

Dr. Patches (Dr. Fager-Expectancy, by Intentionally) won 17 of his 47 starts and placed in 17 other races from 1977 through 1982. In fact, Dr. Patches finished second in more stakes races (10) than he won (three). He earned $737,612 while racing for Mr. and Mrs. James Binger's Tartan Farms, which also bred the horse.

In a stretch of four races in 1978 the chestnut won the Paterson Handicap at the Meadowlands over Seattle Slew, finished second by a nost to Buckfinder in the Celanese Cup Handicap at Belmont, then won the Vosburgh Handicap (gr. II) and Meadowlands Cup by a combined 5 3/4 lengths. Among the chestnut's second-place finishes was the 1979 edition of the Vosburgh.

In 1994 Harry T. Mangurian purchased 700 acres of Tartan Farms. Nearly all the farm's horses were moved or sold in 1995, except Dr. Patches. Farm manager Bryan Howlett had taken care of Dr. Patches through most of his retirement.