06/04/2015 9:51AM

Champion mare Escena dies at 22


Escena, the champion older mare of 1998, died Tuesday at Diamond A Farms in Versailles, Ky., from the infirmities of old age, BloodHorse reported. The 22-year-old daughter of Strawberry Road had been living as a pensioner at Diamond A Farms, producing her last foal, a Shackleford filly, in 2014.

Bred in Kentucky, campaigned by Allen Paulson, and trained by Bill Mott, Escena won 11 of 29 career starts for earnings of $2,962,639.

As a 3-year-old in 1996, she won the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes and finished second by a neck to Pike Place Dancer in the Kentucky Oaks. She would finish second in three more Grade 1 races that year – the Mother Goose, Alabama, and Gazelle Handicap.

At 4, she won the Grade 1 Ramona Handicap on turf at Del Mar and finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Hollywood Park.

During her championship campaign in 1998, Escena had a four-race winning streak, taking the Grade 1 Apple Blossom, Grade 2 Louisville Breeders’ Cup Handicap, Grade 3 Fleur de Lis, and Grade 1 Vanity. In her final start, in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs, she led at every point of call and won by a nose over the favored Banshee Breeze.

As a broodmare, Escena produced six winners from as many runners, highlighted by the stakes-placed A.P. Indy gelding Indy Scent.