05/07/2012 1:56PM

Aptitude, Derby and Belmont runner-up, dies at 15


Grade 1 winner and 2000 Kentucky Derby and Belmont runner-up Aptitude has died in Argentina of a ruptured stomach, according to Thoroughbred Times.

The Juddmonte-bred A.P. Indy horse was 15 and had stood at Haras Vacacion permanently since 2010. He died on April 30, according to the report.

Aptitude was winless in a pair of starts at 2, but at 3 he was off the board only once in seven starts. He finished second to Red Bullet in the 2000 Gotham and third in Fusaichi Pegasus’s Wood Memorial before finishing second to the latter rival in the Kentucky Derby. Aptitude skipped the Preakness but returned to the Belmont, where he finished second again, this time to Commendable.

Aptitude finally earned his Grade 1 stripes at 4, although his first top-grade win came under less-than-ideal circumstances when he was moved up from second to first in the 2001 Hollywood Gold Cup on Futural’s disqualification. He won his next two starts easily, taking the Grade 2 Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap by more than four lengths and coasting home by 10 in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Trained by the late Bobby Frankel for Juddmonte, Aptitude earned $1,965,410 from 5 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds in 15 lifetime starts. He sired Argentine Group 1 winner Lange and 2012 Group 1-placed Al Qasr, American Grade 1 winner Great Hunter, and such graded performers as Steppenwolfer and Outperformance.

Aptitude was out of the unraced Northern Dancer mare Dokki, who also produced Hollywood Oaks winner Sleep Easy.