Bull Inthe Heather, winner of the 1993 Florida Derby (gr. I), was euthanized April 5 at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Kentucky.
The 24-year-old son of Ferdinand—Heather Road, by The Axe II, had been receiving intensive treatment from Dr. Bryan Waldridge and Dr. Bryan Fraley for a combination of issues, but over the last week his quality of life and prospects of recovery diminished.
Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and John Franks and raced as a 2- and 3-year old by Arthur I. Klein, Bull Inthe Heather was trained by Howard M. Tesher. The tall roan colt finished second in a division of the 1993 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) but went off at 29-1 odds in the Florida Derby.
Subsequently second in the Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah, Bull Inthe Heather started as the 5-1 second favorite in the 1993 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) but finished 11th and competed in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), finishing eighth.
In 1994 Bull Inthe Heather was acquired by Craig B. Singer and partners. He remained in Tesher's barn and hit the board numerous times in 1994 and 1995, including a second in the 1994 Governor's Day Handicap at Sam Houston Race Park
. Overall, he posted a 3-10-3 record from 33 career starts and earned $508,338.
Owned by Charles E. Robinson, Bull Inthe Heather stood at Leckbee Thoroughbred Farm near Onalaska, Wash., from 1997 through 2001, and at Loren and Nancy Bolinger's Running Horse Farm near Albuquerque, N.M., from 2002 through 2005. His progeny earned $1,031,298 and included stakes winners Bullishdemands and Ogygian's Rose.
Bull Inthe Heather was retired to Old Friends in 2006. As the best son of 1987 Horse of the Year and 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand, whose death in an overseas slaughterhouse aroused the groundswell of support that enabled Old Friends' formation, Bull Inthe Heather played an important role in the organization's public education efforts.
In 2012 Bull Inthe Heather inspired a Breyer benefit model horse. The "Hops and Horses" event to benefit Old Friends on April 10 will feature a glass honoring Bull Inthe Heather, sponsored by Southern States, with artwork by Anjelica Huston. Bull Inthe Heather, like many horses, was fond of beer.
Old Friends' president and founder Michael Blowen said, "He was probably the toughest horse at Old Friends and yet he was kind and loved to have his back rubbed. Because he had a rough time the last few months, he was a staff favorite and we will miss him very much."