04/23/2013 11:21AM

Captain Steve, Dubai World Cup winner, dead at 16

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Captain Steve, shown winning the 2001 Donn Handicap, died on April 21 in Japan where he stood as a stallion.

Captain Steve, winner of the 2001 Dubai World Cup, died in Japan on April 21 of acute heart failure, reports Kate Hunter, communications manager of Paca Paca Farm.

The 16-year-old son of Fly So Free had been standing at stud in Japan since 2002, most recently at Schichinohe Stallion Station in northern Japan.

Bred in Kentucky by Roger Laubach, Captain Steve was out of the winning Vice Regent mare Sparkling Delite. He was purchased as a yearling for $70,000 at the 1998 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July selected yearling sale by trainer Bob Baffert, as agent for owner Mike Pegram. He became one of the 2-year-old division’s top colts by the end of his 1999 campaign, winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity and the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and Breeders’ Futurity, as well as placing in two additional graded stakes.

Captain Steve finished third in a trio of Kentucky Derby preps, including the Santa Anita Derby, to qualify for the classic race, where he finished 13th. After finishing off the board once again in the Preakness, Captain Steve took some time off and came back for a successful late summer and fall campaign, including wins in the Grade 1 Swaps Stakes (defeating Tiznow), the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic, and the then-ungraded Iowa Derby. He also finished second in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational and the Grade 2 Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap, and finished his season with a third to Tiznow and Giant’s Causeway in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

In 2001, Captain Steve returned with a win in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap, and then shipped to Nad Al Sheba for the $6-million Dubai World Cup. He won the race by three lengths, giving jockey Jerry Bailey his third win in the Dubai World Cup, and Baffert his second.

The Dubai World Cup was Captain Steve’s last victory. After returning stateside, he finished in the money in two of his four races, all graded, and was retired in October 2001 when Pegram sold the horse to the Japan Racing Association for a reported $5 million. Pegram cited a lack of interest from American breeders as the reason he sold Captain Steve to an international buyer.

Captain Steve retired with nine wins from 25 starts, including seven graded or group stakes victories, for lifetime earnings of $6,828,356.

At stud, Captain Steve has sired 242 foals from nine crops of racing age. His foals have largely failed to duplicate their sire’s success, with only two stakes winners—listed winners Ice Doll and Silk Crusader—and none that are stakes-placed.