10/04/2011 1:59AM

Fleet Indian, a.k.a. Large Marge

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The champion Fleet Indian - instantly recognizable for her oversized frame, strong face and large ears - was beloved not just for her race record but also for her unusually gentle nature.

By the spring of her 3-year-old season, the equine sweetheart was already 17 hands tall - and called "Large Marge" by her Jimmy Toner barn crew.  The nickname stuck throughout her championship season, for Todd Pletcher and owner Paul Saylor, and throughout her retirement at the idyllic Summer Wind Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. 

The Summer Wind staff cherished their gentle giant, who died at age 10 on October 1 from complications from colic.  Fleet Indian will be buried at the farm.

Above and below:  Eddie King enjoying a Belmont morning in summer 2006 aboard Fleet Indian.

Above:  Fleet Indian in October 2006 with Judy Krajewski.

Above and below:  Fleet Indian, Jose Santos up, in the 2006 Beldame (G1) at Belmont.  Balletto was second.

Above:  After Fleet Indian won the G1 Personal Ensign, she was visited by her exercise rider Val Buck and friends.  Val rode 'Large Marge' not just for Todd Pletcher but also for Jimmy Toner.

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Above:  Fleet Indian and Jose Santos winning the Personal Ensign at Saratoga, 2006.

Above:  Fleet Indian, in October 2006 at Todd Pletcher's Belmont barn, the year she was named champion older mare.

Above and below:  Fleet Indian at age 9 at her beautiful Summer Wind Farm home, June 2010.

 

Above and below:  Fleet Indian's 2010 Distorted Humor filly, now named Fleeting Smile.  Fleeting Smile sold as a yearling in 2011 for $500,000.

Fleet Indian - 2001-2011, by Indian Charlie - Hustleeta, by Afleet - $1,704,513 in earnings, 19 starts, 13 victories.  2006 Eclipse Award champion older mare.  2006 New York-bred Horse of the Year and champion older mare.

Article about her death:

http://www.drf.com/news/fleet-indian-eclipse-winner-and-dam-2-million-yearling-dies-colic-complications

Also, a loving farewell to 32-year-old D'Accord, too.  The ancient, and incredibly cool and proud, son of Secretariat lived out his life with his loving caregivers at Akindale Farm.   Here's a flashback to his final birthday party, held earlier this year:

http://www.drf.com/blogs/daccords-32nd-birthday-party

Abigail (Terlingua lady) More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful article, Barbara, as always. It always amazes me how your words and photos syncopate just like a beautiful melody. I particularly loved the photos of Fleet Indian with her last foal. Thank you, Barbara.
judy berube More than 1 year ago
Dear Barbara L.: Thank you for more lovely photos and the unfortunate sad story of Fleet Indian. She was beautiful and much loved in her lifetime. So sad she is gone too soon. JB
Nancy More than 1 year ago
Barbara, Thank you for these lovely pictures of Fleet Indian. I was so sad when I read the article in the Blood-Horse. I had seen her race at Belmont, she was a great big beautiful girl and her ears fit the rest of her. She left us much too early, but her legacy is with us through her foals. Fleeting Smile looks very much like her Mom - big and well built with what looks to develop into a powerful rear engine given her current size. May the racing Gods smile upon her.
Paul Saylor Jr. More than 1 year ago
Great photo's. My dad, (owner through racing campaign), loved Fleet Indian. It crush us all to hear the news. She gave us as a family so many wonderful memories. I hope her fillies have fillies.
Judith Saylor Adams More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful tribute, Barbara! Thank you.
Ln More than 1 year ago
Barbara, Thank you so much for your lovely tribute to Fleet Indian. I never was lucky enough to meet her, but I have a close friend who adored her. I know your blog means the world to her, as well as to the people at Summer Wind Farm. Fleet Indian was such a lovely, gallant mare, and thanks to you, she will never be forgotten. Bless you.
laura More than 1 year ago
Hello Barbara .......... She really was a big, beautiful girl! The photo of Eddie King giving her a friendly ear tug brought a smile. Also loved the photos of her with her foal Fleeting Smile, a great name. Very touching. Wonderful enrty as always! Take care.
Sue R-CT More than 1 year ago
A fitting tribute to a champion. A fabulous race mare, but even more loving mom. Her heart was bigger than she was, and that is saying alot. I was fortunate to have met her and through Fleet, wonderful friends at Summer Wind. Thank you Fleet Indian. I will never forget you. Thank you Barbara.
Vince More than 1 year ago
A sad day, indeed. I called her Jet Injun and I loved to see her pin those big "Most Host" ears and dig in through the drive. A gallant champion. Thank you for helping us remember her through your beautiful photographs.
Patti D. More than 1 year ago
Thank you for the beautiful portfolio of one of my favorite girls. Never knew she was "Large Marge"! She will live on in our hearts.