05/05/2014 5:35PM

Chelokee, Grade 3 winner and Arizona sire, dies at age 10

Barbara D. Livingston
Grade 3 winner and sire Chelokee, a popular horse who overcame serious injury to stand several years at stud, died on May 2.

Grade 3 winner and sire Chelokee died May 2, per the University of Arizona Equine Science Program Facebook page. The son of Cherokee Run was 10.

Chelokee was bred in Kentucky by Gulf Coast Farms Bloodstock, and was purchased by owner Centennial Farms for $290,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale. He is out of the Grade 2-placed Silver Ghost mare Dixie Ghost, who is also the dam of Grade 2 winner and Louisiana-based sire Salute the Sarge and stakes winner Mymich.

Trained by Michael Matz, Chelokee finished third to Scat Daddy in the Grade 1 Florida Derby in spring 2007, and then followed up with wins in the listed Barbaro Stakes at Pimlico and the Grade 3 Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The following year, Chelokee suffered dislocated sesamoid bone in his right front while racing in the Grade 3 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill, ending his career. He retired with five wins in 10 career starts for earnings of $385,785.

Chelokee underwent surgery and rehabilitation and then entered stud in 2009 at Vinery in Lexington, Ky. He covered 24 mares in his initial season at stud, and then was donated by Centennial Farms to the University of Arizona’s Equine Center in Tucson the following year.

Chelokee is represented by three crops of racing age, consisting of 41 foals. Stakes-placed runners Lady Kee and General Houston lead his offspring. He stood the 2014 season for an advertised fee of $1,500.

“Over the past few months we were noticing a tiredness about him that hadn't been there before,” the Arizona Equine Science Program’s Facebook post read. “The fight was still there but his beautiful body was tired and giving out on him. This big-hearted, intelligent, kind horse will be greatly missed.”