Ernie Paragallo, whose Paraneck Stable has sent out numerous stakes horses over the past eight years, is selling all his horses, with the exception of his stallions, and hopes to have everything sold by the end of the year.
"I have some health problems I have to take care of," Paragallo said Sunday. "I'll be selling all my horses privately and at the sales. Hopefully, we can get it done by the end of 2004. Until then, I'll race them, then get rid of them. I'll just keep the stallions and get rid of the broodmares. I've got 60 broodmares, and I'll have to sell about 300 horses total."
Paragallo said racing stock will be offered to owners and trainers on a 50-50 income split if they assume the training and veterinary costs.
Two of Paragallo's most successful racehorses, Unbridled's Song
, are currently standing at Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Ky.
Paragallo bought Unbridled's Song at the 1994 Fasig-Tipton yearling sale at Saratoga for $200,000, with the intention of pinhooking him. The colt sold for a then-world record $1.4 million at the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training, but buyer Hiroshi Fujita asked to return the horse when post-sale X-rays showed a possible ankle problem.
Paragallo took Unbridled's Song back, then proclaimed: "They've just made the biggest mistake of their lives. They'll never find another horse as good as this one. I didn't want to sell him anyway. We're going to win the Breeders' Cup with this colt, and they're going to wish they never brought the matter up."
True to Paragallo's word, Unbridled's Song won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and added the Florida Derby (gr. I), and Wood Memorial (gr. II) the following year. Artax was voted champion sprinter in 1999 when he won the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), and Vosburgh (gr. I), Carter (gr. I), and Forest Hills (gr. II) Handicaps. He also captured the San Felipe (gr. II) and Santa Catalina (gr. III) Stakes at three.
Bloodstock agent Buzz Chace, who was taken by surprise when told about Paragallo's decision, picked out many of Paragallo's top horses over the years. "This is the first I'm hearing about it," he said.
According to Equibase statistics, Paraneck ranks 17th in the nation in purse earnings in 2004 with $1,137,229. The stable is winning at a 7.7% clip (18-for-235).
In 2003, Paragallo won the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) with New York Hero, and this year captured the Best Turn Stakes with Redskin Warrior and was second in the Illinois Derby (gr. II) and third in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) with Song of the Sword. Jennifer Pedersen trained all three.
"I hate to say it, but it's a blessing, because it's a burden off his back," Pedersen said. "I wish he had done it two years ago. He has to take care of himself, and it's hard to being as involved as he is with the horses. Hopefully, by selling all the horses, he can get healthy again. I'm just glad the burden is finally off his back."
Paragallo earlier had pledged $1 million to the Heroes Fund, payable through the sale of multi-year stallion seasons to Artax and Unbridled's Song.
A native of Brooklyn, Paragallo made the contribution to the Heroes Fund in memory of several friends and firefighters who perished in the attack on the World Trade Center.