Multiple grade 1 winner and third-crop sire Giant Oak died March 1 because of complications related to a neurological condition. The 11-year-old son of Giant's Causeway stood at Millennium Farms and had not yet covered any mares this year.
Giant Oak began showing mild signs of discomfort mid-February and had been under close supervision by both farm staff and Hagyard Equine Medical Associates veterinarians Dr. Arnaldo Monge, Dr. J. Barry David, and Dr. Robert Hunt. His condition rapidly deteriorated earlier this week.
"Giant Oak suffered an acute onset of severe neurologic disease," said Hunt. "Based on humane grounds, the decision was made to euthanize him."
Bred and raced by Virginia H. Tarra Trust and trainer Chris Block, Giant Oak's biggest triumphs came when he was elevated to victory in the 2010 Clark Handicap (G1) via disqualification, then earned top-level accolades outright with his two-length triumph in the 2011 Donn Handicap (G1). He performed at the graded stakes level during each of his four seasons of racing and defeated the likes of grade 1 winners Morning Line , Ron the Greek, Stately Victor and others.
Giant Oak retired to stud in 2011 after notching five wins from 31 starts for $1,484,829 in earnings. He currently has 17 winners from three crops of racing age including stakes winners Whateverybodywants, Bucket Beat, Giant Cruiser, and Sunny Oak.
"Giant Oak was what dreams are made of. He took his owner-breeders on the ride of a lifetime as a racehorse and continued to reward them, along with the breeders who supported him, during his all-too-brief career at stud," said J. Ted Neel, business manager for Millennium Farms. "We feel so much gratitude toward Rudy and Virginia Tarra and their family for entrusting us with Giant Oak's care and stallion career. He was just a pleasure to be around. Good-natured, good-looking—he was a real class act. We all get to know these horses and get close to them. Giant Oak will be sorely missed by everyone here at Millennium."
Giant Oak was out of the Crafty Prospector mare Crafty Oak. He will be buried at Millennium Farms.