12/30/2016 11:46AM

Cara Rafaela, Grade 1 winner and dam of Bernardini, euthanized


The outstanding broodmare Cara Rafaela, best known as the dam of champion Bernardini, has been euthanized due to the infirmities of old age, the Godolphin/Darley operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum reported on Friday. Cara Rafaela, a 23-year-old Quiet American mare pensioned in 2014, had been living out her retirement at Sheikh Mohammed’s Gainsborough Farm in Versailles, Ky.

Cara Rafaela, who was bred by Mike G. Rutherford, was a $70,000 purchase out of the 1994 Keeneland September yearling sale by owner Goncalo Borges Torrealba. She won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet as a juvenile and was stakes-placed in seven Grade 1 events, including a runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and a third in the 1996 Kentucky Oaks.

Cara Rafaela was purchased privately by Sheikh Mohammed while carrying her fifth foal, the A.P. Indy colt who would become Bernardini. Unraced as a juvenile, Bernardini burst onto the scene to sweep the 2006 Preakness Stakes, Jim Dandy, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup before finishing second to Invasor in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He earned Eclipse Award honors as champion 3-year-old male, and Cara Rafaela was honored as Broodmare of the Year for that season. Bernardini has gone on to a successful stud career at Darley’s Kentucky base, siring 40 stakes winners to date, including multiple Grade 1 winners Stay Thirsty, Alpha, Cavorting, and To Honor and Serve.

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Cara Rafaela has produced six winners from 11 starters, with two of her daughters also becoming stakes producers. Grade 1-placed Ile de France, by Storm Cat, is the dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Love and Pride. Love and Pride, an A.P. Indy mare, was purchased by the Borges Torrealba Holdings of Cara Rafaela’s former owner for $4.9 million out of the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale. Love and Pride’s second foal, the War Front colt Alfarqad, subsequently sold for $1.3 million to Shadwell at this year’s Keeneland September yearling sale.

Another of Cara Rafaela’s daughters, the unraced Deputy Minister mare Lovely Regina, is the dam of multiple graded-stakes winner Thiskyhasnolimit.

Cara Rafaela has two foals remaining on the track, both by North America’s reigning leading sire Tapit, who is a grandson of A.P. Indy. The 3-year-old filly Carella has won once from 11 starts, winning a maiden race in September. Brookline, the juvenile colt who is Cara Rafaela’s final foal, finished third in his second start on Dec. 26 at Fair Grounds.