09/25/2013 5:00PM

Dayjur, English champion and sire, dies at 26


Dayjur, an English champion who provided one of the most memorable moments in Breeders’ Cup history when runner-up in the 1990 Sprint, was euthanized Wednesday at Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum’s Shadwell Farm in Lexington, Ky., due to the infirmities of old age. The son of Danzig was 26.

“Dayjur was one great racehorse,” Shadwell vice president Rick Nichols said. “He gave Sheikh Hamdan, and all of us at Shadwell, many great thrills. He was the cornerstone of our stallion operation, and he was a wonderful horse to be around. He will be deeply missed.”

Bred in Kentucky by Georgia E. Hoffman, Dayjur was out of champion sprinter Gold Beauty, by Mr. Prospector. He was purchased by Sheikh Hamdan for $1.65 million at the Keeneland July yearling sale in 1988 and sent to England to race. There, under the guidance of Major R.W. “Dick” Hern, Dayjur became the English Horse of the Year as a 3-year-old. During his sensational 1990 campaign, Dayjur won five group stakes, including three Group 1’s – the Ladbroke Sprint Cup, the Keeneland Nunthorpe Stakes, both in England; and the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp in France.

In the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Belmont, Dayjur engaged the filly Safely Kept, the defending Eclipse Award winner as champion sprinter, at the top of the stretch and pulled ahead in the final yards only to jump a shadow nearing the finish and lose by a neck. He retired after the Breeders’ Cup with 6 wins from 9 starts and earnings of $750,770.

Dayjur began his stud career at Shadwell in 1991 and sired 19 crops before being pensioned in 2010. Among his 30 stakes winners from 565 foals of racing age were Group 1 winner Hayil, Group 2 winners Asfurah and Tipsy Creek, Grade 3 winners New Advantage and In Conference, and Brazilian champion Eyjur.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had not thought about this in so very long. Mr. Nickerson, down. Shaker Knit falling over him. What a terrible accident. But, the filly pulled it off and that is racing luck. As ever, Safely Kept, one of the greats.
B More than 1 year ago
She was a great sprinting filly. She should not have won this race, but it wasn't her fault he couldn't handle shadows. We have had some really exciting fillies in the BC Sprint. They need to get rid of this new sprint for fillies.
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
Great horse! Rest in peace.
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Eddie, I remember that day and always will. I agree that day was miserable horse wise.
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Eddie Smith More than 1 year ago
That was a cold, depressing, awful Breeders cup to see in person.