03/28/2014 2:15PM

Bertrando, champion and pensioned sire, dead at 25

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Barbara Livingston
Bertrando led the California general sire list in 2005 and 2007, and was pensioned in 2011 to owner Marty Wygod's River Edge Farm.

Bertrando, who received the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding older male of 1993 and was a former leading stallion in California, died recently of infirmities of old age, owner Marty Wygod said on Friday.

Bertrando was 25. On the racetrack, he won 9 of 24 starts and earned $3,185,610 in a career highlighted by eight stakes wins, including three Grade 1 races – the 1991 Norfolk Stakes and the Pacific Classic and Woodward Stakes in 1993. Bertrando started in three Breeders’ Cup races, finishing second in the 1991 Juvenile, second in the 1993 Classic, and sixth in the 1994 Classic.

Bertrando entered the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Classic with a chance at the Horse of the Year title, but was beaten by the European longshot Arcangues.

By Skywalker, Bertrando was bred by Edward Nahem and was raced by him in partnership with 505 Farms and Gus Headley early in his career. Later, Nahem and Marshall Naify’s 505 Farms were listed as owners. Bertrando was trained by Bruce Headley, Bobby Frankel, and John Shirreffs during his racing career.

Nahem, who died in 2007, stood Bertrando at stud in partnership with Wygod. The stallion was an early success, as California’s leading freshman stallion of 1997. He was also the state’s leading sire by progeny earnings in 2005 and 2007.

Bertrando was the sire of such notable stakes winners as Officer, who won the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes in 1991; Karelian, winner of the 2010 Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile; Unfurl the Flag, who won the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap in 2005 and the Nahem-owned Bilo, who won the Triple Bend Handicap in 2007.

This year, Bertrando is represented by Tamarando, a colt from his second-to-last crop who recently won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields and has earned $630,120 in his career. Tamarando won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity last September.

Bertrando stood at Wygod’s River Edge Farm in Buellton, Calif., before being relocated to Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, Calif., in late 2010 when River Edge closed its breeding operation. After Bertrando was pensioned following the 2011 breeding season, he was sent back to River Edge for retirement.

“When we saw he wasn’t up to par, we took him home for the rest of his life,” Wygod said. “He lived a great life.”
Wygod said Bertrando’s quality of life had declined recently.

“He reached a place where physically and mentally he didn’t know where he was and couldn’t function,” he said.

Bertrando, who was out of the Buffalo Lark mare Gentle Hands, has progeny earnings in excess of $46 million. Wygod said he was buried at River Edge Farm.