04/30/2015 4:15PM

Canadian Hall of Famer Sky Classic dies at 28


Sky Classic, a Canadian Hall of Famer, champion in the United States., and sire of 1999 Canadian Horse of the Year Thornfield, died Thursday in his paddock at Pin Oak Stud in Versailles, Ky.

A 28-year-old son of Nijinsky II, Sky Classic was pensioned in January, and stood at Pin Oak Stud since 1993.

“Sky Classic’s arrival at the farm remains fresh in my mind even after 23 years,” said farm manager Clifford Barry. “Standing a stallion of his caliber started a very exciting chapter for Pin Oak, and his impact on our breeding program has proven immeasurable. We lost a champion today, and the most faithful of servants to the farm, but we are honored and grateful to Sam-Son Farm for entrusting him to us for all these years.”

Sky Classic was one of the most successful products of a prominent Sam-Son breeding line, and he campaigned as a homebred for the perennial leading Canadian operation.

He is out of the Canadian Hall of Famer No Class, by Nodouble, who was named Canada’s Outstanding Broodmare in 1985. Her seven foals to race were all winners, and six won in stakes company, including Canadian champion and Outstanding Broodmare Classy ‘n Smart, Canadian champions Grey Classic and Regal Classic, Grade 1 winner Always a Classic, and stakes winner Classic Reign.

Sky Classic won 15 of 29 starts for earnings of $3,329,398, at the time a record for a Canadian-bred colt. He was named Canada’s champion 2-year-old colt in 1989, then was named the country’s champion grass horse and older horse in 1991. He earned an Eclipse Award the following year as U.S. champion grass horse. Sky Classic was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1998.

He won a total of nine graded stakes races, including the Grade 1 Rothmans Ltd. International Stakes and the Turf Classic Invitational Stakes. Sky Classic also finished second by a nose to Fraise in the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Turf, which would be his final start before retiring to stud.

Sky Classic has sired 20 crops of racing age at Pin Oak. In addition to Canadian Horse of the Year Thornfield, his top runners include Canadian champion Sky Conqueror, Turkish champion Texas Gal, Argentine champion Magnetic Eyes, and Grade 1 winners Nothing to Lose and Hyperbaric.