Death of a Derby Winner

The Blood-Horse magazine reported that 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand died sometime in 2002. He likely met his end in a slaughterhouse in Japan, where his career at stud was unsuccessful.

Ferdinand earned nearly $4 million, retiring as what was then the fifth-leading money winner of all time. He was retired to stud in 1989 at Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky. After a brief, undistinguished stud career, he was sold to Japan's JS Company in 1994. Initially popular with local breeders, his popularity declined, and his owners opted to get rid of him.

After hearing conflicting stories about what happened to Ferdinand after leaving JS Company's Arrow Stud, reporter Barbara Bayer was told: "He was disposed of late last year." Ferdinand's registration in Japan was annulled Sept. 1, 2002, Bayer learned.

"In Japan, the term 'disposed of' is used to mean slaughtered," Bayer wrote in The Blood-Horse. "No one can say for sure when and where Ferdinand met his end, but it would seem clear he met it in a slaughterhouse...In a country where racing is kept booming by the world's highest purses and astronomical betting revenues, Ferdinand's fate is not the exception. It is the rule."

For more information, see article #4565 online.

About the Author

Ray Paulick

Ray Paulick is a former editor of The Blood-Horse magazine.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners