05/03/2013 12:36PM

Bertolini, European sire, dead at 17

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Bertolini, a leading European first-crop sire and the broodmare sire of 2012 Japanese Horse of the Year Gentildonna, has died at age 17, according to Racing Post.

The Danizg horse was 17 and reportedly died of a heart attack after covering a mare at Haras des Faunes in France, where he was standing his first season after starting his career in England.

Bred in Kentucky by Helen Groves, Helen Alexander, and DeDe Alexander, Bertolini was out of the group-placed Alydar mare Aquilegia, whose family also includes such runners as Arch, Acoma, and Twining. A $750,000 Keeneland July yearling, he was purchased by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, for whom he won the Group 3 July Stakes in 1998 and the European Free Handicap the following season. He also was Group 1-placed five times in England and France.

Bertolini’s first crop featured 2005 Cheveley Park Stakes winner Donna Blini, who went on to produce Gentildonna. That runner captured the Japan Cup and Japan’s filly Triple Crown—the  Oka Sho (Japan’s 1,000 Guineas), Yushin Himba (Japanese Oaks), and Shuka Sho—last season.

Bertolini also sired Holland’s 2007 Horse of the Year Dancing Flyer, New Zealand Group 1 winner Juice, and Group 1-placed Moorhouse Lad, among others.

A former Darley stallion, Bertolini stood at Overbury Stud in Gloucestershire, England, before heading for the continent late last year.