The Barking Shark, the West Coast fan favorite who made 53 of his 56 starts in California and Arizona from 1995-2003, recently lost a battle with colic at the Glen Ellen Vocational Academy near Glen Ellen, Calif. At the time of his death, the 24-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Naevus had enjoyed nearly 14 years of retirement.
The horse with the unforgettable name had a penchant for finishing second, as his 9-13-4 career mark suggests. Seven of those runner-up efforts came in stakes company and he was second twice in grade 1 company. In a nine-year run in training The Barking Shark earned $572,366.
He was foaled April 7, 1993 and was bred by Jayeff “B” Stables out of the Vice Regent mare Sweet Augusta. A $12,000 Keeneland September yearling sale graduate, he RNA’d for $9,000 later in 1994 at the Arizona fall mixed sale. Racing for Henderson Stables and trainer Robert J. Meyer, he made five starts at 2, running at Turf Paradise in Phoenix and at Sunland Park in New Mexico where he won his lone stakes, the Ruidoso Horse Sales Thoroughbred Futurity as the 1-5 favorite.
The Barking Shark made his way to Southern California at 3 and was claimed by 5C Racing Stable and trainer Marcelo Polanco for $50,000. He promptly ran second in three consecutive stakes on the turf at Del Mar: the Oceanside Stakes at a mile, the La Jolla Handicap (G3T), and the Del Mar Invitational Derby (G2T) at odds of 26-1, 18-1, and 15-1, respectively. The graded stakes loses came in photo finishes.
Shipped to Louisiana Downs for the $750,000 Isle of Capri Casino Super Derby (G1), The Barking Shark ran second as a 25-1 shot, earning $150,000, to that year’s Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Editor's Note. In his wake were the likes of grade 1 winners Will's Way and Zarb’s Magic, and other major winners Devil’s Honor and Vivace.
In The Barking Shark’s 4-year-old debut, he ran another strong second in the $500,000 Strub Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. With his runner-up finish, he avenged his loss to Editor’s Note by finishing in front of that foe, as well as several other notable stakes performers.
By age 6, The Barking Shark eventually was dropped back into the claiming ranks and made as many starts in Northern California as Southern California in his later racing years He was claimed by trainer Dean Pederson for Robert Bone near the end of his career in November 2002 and went out a winner at Golden Gate on Feb. 9, 2003 in a 5 1/2-furlong claiming race. Claimed out of that race by Ed Moger Jr. for $5,000, The Barking Shark was retired and sent to GEVA, where he lived out the remainder of his life with his mares, Foggy and Luvy.