Risen Star Dies As A Result Of Colic

Risen Star, the 1988 Thoroughbred champion 3-year-old colt whose career at stud never matched his exploits on the track, died March 13 at the Hagyard-Davidson-McGee veterinary clinic near Lexington, Ky., as a result of colic. The 13-year-old son of Secretariat stood at Walmac International near Lexington.

Walmac general manager John T. L. Jones Jr. said Risen Star had been bothered by stomach problems throughout his stud career and that he began this year's breeding season late after undergoing surgery two months ago. At the time of his death, Risen Star had serviced three mares this year.

Bred in Kentucky by Arthur Hancock III and the late Leone Peters, Risen Star was purchased for $300,000 by Louisiana-based owner-trainer Louie Roussel III from the Stone Farm consignment to the 1987 Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training at Calder Racecourse. The previous year the colt had been retained by his breeders after the high bid of $210,000 was below the $250,000 reserve price when he was consigned to the Keeneland July selected yearling sale.

Trained by Roussel on behalf of himself and partner Ronnie Lamarque, Risen Star had two wins from three starts as a juvenile and finished second behind eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Success Express in the Sport of Kings Futurity.

As a 3-year-old, Risen Star began his season at the Fair Grounds, where Roussel was chairman. After winning three of his first four starts, including the Louisiana Derby (gr. III), Risen Star posted his third consecutive victory when he took the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) in a prep for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Far back early, Risen Star rallied on the inside down the backstretch and finished third behind the front-running Winning Colors. With co-owner Lamarque basking in the limelight of the Triple Crown series, regaling members of the press with songs, Risen Star went on to capture the Preakness Stakes over a field that include Winning Colors and champion Forty Niner.

During the period between the Preakness and Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the colt apparently injured his right foreleg during a workout. An ultrasound examination revealed a lesion on the suspensory ligament. The problem did not affect Risen Star's performance as he rolled to a 14 3/4-length victory in the Belmont, with his final time of 2:26 2/5 eclipsed only by his sire's clocking of 2:24 for the 1 1/2 miles in 1973. As a result of compiling the most points during the Triple Crown races, Risen Star was awarded a $1 million bonus.

Efforts to return Risen Star to the races following a break after the Belmont were unsuccessful. The colt was retired to Walmac after being syndicated for a reported $7 million for half-interest.

Jones said Risen Star was never really commercially accepted because his retirement coincided with breeders preferences for speed sires rather than those who excelled at classic distances.

From his initial $75,000 stud fee in 1990, Risen Star had had declined to $5,000 in 1995, the same fee for which he standing this year.

From seven crops of racing age, Risen Star sired 12 stakes winners, including German champion Risen Raven, Japanese stakes winner Star Ballerina, and millionaire grade I winner Star Standard. Represented by the earners of more than $10.3 million Risen Star had sired 134 winners (54% of 248 foals of racing age) at the time of his death.

About the Author

Tim Brockhoff

Tim Brockhoff was Staff Writer of The Horse:Your Guide to Equine Health Care from 1995 to 1999. His degree is in Agricultural Communications from the University of Kentucky, and his equine experience is with American Saddlebreds.

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