04/11/2002 11:00PM

Champion Meadow Star dies

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Meadow Star, North America's champion 2-year-old filly of 1990, died Thursday after complications from foaling, Carl Icahn's Foxfield operation announced Friday. She was 14.

Meadow Star's foal, a Fusaichi Pegasus colt, also died.

The mare, who won her championship title after an undefeated juvenile season in 1990, died at the Hagyard Davidson McGee equine hospital near Lexington. She had been boarded at Trackside Farm in Versailles, Ky.

"It's really a loss for all of us," Foxfield manager Rob Whiteley said. "We don't have enough fillies that exude the kind of class she had. She was so strong, so determined, so self-assured, so talented, and yet so kind."

Jaime Carrion bred Meadow Star, a chestnut daughter of Meadowlake and the In Reality mare Inreality Star, in Florida. Icahn bought her for $90,000 from Robert Courtney, agent, at the 1989 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Meadow Star's talent was immediately apparent. Trained by LeRoy Jolley, she made her debut in a maiden race at Belmont in June 1990, winning by 5 1/4 lengths. She wouldn't lose again until more than a year later, when she met colts in the Wood Memorial and ran fourth. Between those two races, she won eight starts, for a combined win margin of 43 lengths. She demolished fields in the Grade 3 Astoria Breeders' Cup and Grade 2 Schuylerville Stakes before reeling off a string of Grade 1 wins in the Spinaway, Matron, and Frizette Stakes, and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. In the Breeders' Cup, which Meadow Star won by five lengths, the vanquished included future American champions Dance Smartly and Flawlessly, Canadian champion Wilderness Song, and multiple Grade 1 winner Lite Light.

At three, Meadow Star won the first two legs of the filly triple crown, beating Versailles Treaty in the Acorn and Lite Light in the Mother Goose, but Lite Light's seven-length victory over her in the Coaching Club American Oaks denied Meadow Star her tiara.

Meadow Star raced through October of her 4-year-old year but did not win again after the 1991 Mother Goose.

Fans also loved Meadow Star for a decision that Icahn made to donate the majority of her earnings to the Children's Rescue Fund, which Icahn had established. By the end of her career, Meadow Star had earned $1,445,740, and almost $1 million went to the fund. At her retirement, Meadow Star's record stood at 20-11-1-2, including six Grade 1 stakes wins.

As a broodmare, Meadow Star was less successful, producing just one stakes-placed runner in the Deputy Minister filly Grechelle. But her place in history already was assured. Her grave at Trackside will be marked with a permanent headstone.