01/02/2012 6:23PM

Cardmania, champion sprinter, dead at 26


ARCADIA, Calif. - Cardmania, the 1993 champion sprinter, was euthanized on Monday after a recent illness, his former trainer Derek Meredith said.

A 26-year-old gelding, Cardmania resided at the United Pegasus Foundation in Tehachapi, Calif., a retirement home for Thoroughbreds operated by Meredith’s wife, Helen, north of Los Angeles.

“I went and saw him on Friday and he didn’t look very good,” an emotional Derek Meredith said on Monday. “He’d lost a lot of weight. [Helen] called this morning and told me the bad news.”

Helen Meredith said on Monday that Cardmania had been in declining health in the last week.

“We think it was an internal tumor because of the blood tests,” she said. “He went off his feed.”

Cardmania won 16 of 76 starts and $1,503,780. A Kentucky-bred by Cox’s Ridge, Cardmania began his career in Europe, where he raced in claiming races in France but later was a stakes winner in Italy.

Racing for Jean Couvercelle, Cardmania blossomed when transferred to the United States at the end of 1991. During the 1992 season, he won three stakes. His championship season in 1993 was highlighted by two stakes wins, including the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. In that race, Cardmania rallied from 10th in a field of 14 under Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahousssaye to win by a neck over the 4-year-old filly Meafara.

In 1994, Cardmania won the San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita in January, in what would be his final stakes win. He was later third in the 1994 BC Sprint at Churchill Downs. Cardmania made his final start in the 1995 Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park, finishing third.

“He retired sound,” Helen Meredith said.