Proud Truth, who won the 1985 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Aqueduct for Darby Dan Farm owner John W. Galbreath, has died. The 23-year-old son of Graustark stood at Haras Cerro Punta in Panama.
Proud Truth not only won the $3 million Classic during his 3-year-old season, but also finished first in that year's Florida Derby (gr. I), Flamingo Stakes (gr. I, disqualified to second behoind Chief's Crown), Peter Pan Stakes (gr. I), Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), and Discovery Handicap (gr. III). All those efforts, however, did not result in a championship. Horse of the Year and 3-year-old male honors instead went to Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Spend a Buck.
Although a problem child early on as a 2-year-old, Proud Truth showed enough promise later that season and early as a 3-year-old to give Galbreath and trainer John Veitch hope on the way to the Kentucky Derby.
"We began having great expectations for him, and they were fulfilled in the Florida Derby and Flamingo," the conditioner said. "He ran reasonably well in the Kentucky Derby (fifth). We skipped the Preakness and focused on the Belmont because of the distance (1 1/2 miles)."
Although Graustark never raced beyond 1 1/8 miles, Proud Truth's grandsire, unbeaten Ribot, did and won such stakes as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe twice and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at the Belmont distance.
Proud Truth prepped for the Belmont in the Peter Pan and won, but suffered a saucer fracture and missed the classic. After an operation and recovery period, he resumed training.
Veitch employed a unique method in getting Proud Truth in peak condition for the Classic. Instead of looking for races leading up the Classic, the conditioner started looking backwards. He decided the Discovery, a week before, would help get Proud Truth ready for the Classic and an allowance race would do the same for the Discovery. Veitch also credited assistant, Charlie Rose, and Proud Truth's groom, Jesse Spotts, with making things easier.
The Classic not only featured Proud Truth, but also Chief's Crown, Gate Dancer, Turkoman, Track Barron, and Vanlandingham. Missing was Spend a Buck, who had been retired in the summer. Sent off at 7-1 and ridden by Jorge Velasquez, Proud Truth was last early, then wore down Gate Dancer in deep stretch to win by a head in 2:00 4/5 for 1 1/4 miles.
"For Mr. Galbrealth, it was a victory he especially cherished," Veitch said.
Proud Truth, who was bred by Galbreath's wife, Dorothy, raced midway through his 4-year-old season. He won the Tidal Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont in his sole turf start, and came within a nose of winning the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. I). He retired with 10 wins from 21 starts and earnings of $2,198,895.
Proud Truth, produced from the Summer Tan mare Wake Robin, entered stud at Darby Dan Farm in 1987. Unfortunately for John Galbreath, he wasn't able to see Proud Truth's first foals race. He died in 1988.
After standing five seasons at Darby Dan, Proud Truth stood at Lehr Jackson's Corbett Farm near Monkton, Md., before he was sent to Haras Cerro Punta in 1998. He proved a major success in Panama, siring six champions, including 2004 Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner Spago.
Proud Truth's North American stakes winners include Canadian champion Truth of It All, Fantasy (gr. II) and Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) Stakes winner Aztec Hill, and other graded winners Low Tolerance, Stem the Tide, and Very True. For his career, Proud Truth has sired 37 stakes winners.