Fire the Groom, a grade 1 winner whose influence as a broodmare continues to be felt worldwide, died April 5 at the Hubbard family's Crystal Springs Farm near Tularosa, N.M. She was 30.
Bred by Edward Seltzer and John Calicchio, Fire the Groom began her racing career in England, where she made her first seven starts and won the Moss Brothers October Stakes at Ascot in 1990. Purchased by R.D. Hubbard, Dr. Ed Allred, and Connie Sczesny from Richard Duchossois, she came to the United States and won the Aqueduct Budweiser Breeders' Cup Handicap three weeks after her Moss Brothers score.
Fire the Groom (Blushing Groom—Prospector's Fire, by Mr. Prospector) really hit her mark in 1991 under the guidance of trainer Bill Shoemaker, winning the Santa Anita Budweiser Breeders' Cup Handicap (G3T) in April, the Wilshire Handicap (G2T) in May, and the Beverly D. Stakes (G1T) in August.
Fire the Groom won eight times in 16 starts and earned $777,682.
"I sold her, but I didn't want to," said Seltzer, now a prominent businessman in South Florida. "I bought her mother, Prospector's Fire, from Butch Savin, the owner of Mr. Prospector. She was a wonderful broodmare whom I kept at Tartan Farms."
Fire the Groom's half brother Dowsing, by Riverman, won the 1988 Vernons Sprint Cup (G1) in England in 1988.
Fire the Groom struck as a broodmare with her 1996 colt by Nureyev. Stravinsky, bred by Hubbard, Allred, and Sczesny, was champion sprinter in Europe in 1999 and highweighted on the English, Irish, and European Free Handicaps that season, in which he won the Darley July Cup and Persimmon Homes Nunthorpe Stakes (both G1). Stravinsky stands in Japan.
Fire the Groom foaled Moscow Ballet in 2001. The Sadler's Wells colt was bred by the partners along with Coolmore Stud. He was a stakes winner in England and stands in Australia. Augustusthestrong (A.P. Indy—Fire the Groom) was group-placed in Ireland, and Sweet Firebird, a full sister to Moscow Ballet, was stakes-placed in Ireland.
Fire the Groom's influence continues through her daughters. Indy Blaze is the dam of Enterprising (Elusive Quality), who won the April 1 Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2T) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The Hubbard family has retained Fire the Groom's Bernardini filly, Garter, who has produced Stormy Day, stakes-placed in New Mexico.
"She lived to the ripe old age of 30 and was treated like the queen she was until the end," said Crystal Springs farm manager Tom Goncharoff.