Classic Winner Tabasco Cat Dies in Japan

Classic Winner Tabasco Cat Dies in Japan
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Tabasco Cat at Overbrook Farm in 1995.
Tabasco Cat, who won the 1994 Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont (gr. I) Stakes as a homebred for William T. Young and David Reynolds, died at the age of 13 at the Japan Bloodstock Breeders' Association's Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan. He died from a heart attack while in the breeding shed..

Tabasco Cat was bred on a foal share arrangement between the two men. Young, who died Jan. 12, provided the services of the stallion Storm Cat, and Reynolds the services of the mare Barbicue Sauce (by Sauce Boat).

Tabasco Cat seemed to have the numbers for an Eclipse Award as best 3-year-old male. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Tabasco Cat not only beat Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Go for Gin in the Preakness and Belmont, but also came within a neck of winning the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). His other added-money wins that year came in the San Rafael (gr. II) and Kentucky Cup Classic Stakes and the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III).

But it was his loss to Holy Bull in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga that sealed his fate. Holy Bull beat older horses in two of his five grade I wins that year and was both champion 3-year-old male and Horse of the Year.

As a 2-year-old, Tabasco Cat nearly killed Lukas' son, assistant trainer Jeff Lukas, by running him down. Tabasco Cat had gotten loose one morning, and Lukas tried to stop him. He planted himself in the path of the runaway colt, who slammed into him. Lukas suffered a fractured skull and brain damage.

Tabasco Cat was retired after his 3-year-old season with eight wins from 18 starts and earnings of $2,347,671. As a 2-year-old, he won the Fort Springs Stakes at Keeneland and ran third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).

Tabasco Cat entered stud at Young's Overbrook Farm near Lexington in 1995 and stood there until the JBBA bought him for $7 million in the fall of 2000. At the time, he had sired four stakes winners.

Following his exportation, things heated up in a big way. Tabasco Cat's son Snow Ridge became one of North America's top sprinters, and a daughter, Habibti, one of the best 2-year-olds fillies of 2001. She won the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I) and Del Mar Debutante Stakes (gr. I). There also were grade II winners in Cat's At Home, Freefourinternet, and Spice Island, plus grade III winners in Perfect Cat and Raylene (in Canada). To date, Tabasco Cat is represented by 21 stakes winners.

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