02/04/2005 12:00AM

Devil's Bag dead


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Devil's Bag, the champion juvenile of 1983 and sire of more than 40 stakes winners, died early Thursday morning at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky. The Halo horse was 24 and had been due to stand this season for a $10,000 fee.

"He broke his right hind leg in his stall," Claiborne manager Gus Koch said. Devil's Bag was euthanized because of the injury.

Koch said the farm will bury Devil's Bag, who was bred to 53 mares last year, at its Marchmont cemetery.

Bred in Maryland by E. P. Taylor of Windfields Farm, Devil's Bag was a product of the same breeding program that produced the great Northern Dancer. Devil's Bag was a son of the outstanding producer Ballade, by Herbager, making him a full brother to Canadian Horse of the Year Glorious Song and Grade 2 winner and highly successful sire Saint Ballado, and a half-brother to stakes winner Thaidah.

Taylor sold him as a yearling for $325,000 at the 1982 Keeneland July yearling sale, where he was bought by James P. Mills of Hickory Tree Stable. Sent to Woody Stephens, Devil's Bag developed into a brilliant 2-year-old. He won his debut in a Saratoga maiden special weight by 7 1/2 lengths and followed up with a 5 1/4-length allowance victory. He went on to win the seven-furlong Cowdin by three lengths in stakes-record time of 1:21.40 and was even more impressive in the Champagne, winning by six lengths and lowering Seattle Slew's stakes record by .20 seconds. He closed out his undefeated juvenile season in the Laurel Futurity with a 5 1/4-length victory.

In winning his 3-year-old debut by seven lengths, Devil's Bag seemed to have made the transition from 2 to 3 easily. But the win streak ended less than two weeks later in the Flamingo, when he finished fourth behind Time for a Change. He returned with an emphatic 15-length victory in Keeneland's Forerunner, then won again at Churchill Downs nine days later, on April 28 in the Derby Trial. Devil's Bag already was the subject of a $36 million syndication, and when a post-race X-ray revealed what turned out to be a chip in his right knee, his owners retired him to Claiborne. He left the races beaten just once in nine starts and with $445,860 in winnings.

At stud, Devil's Bag has sired 43 stakes winners, including French champion and Japanese Horse of the Year Taiki Shuttle and German champion Quebrada, as well as Grade 1 winners Devil His Due, Twilight Agenda, Devil's Orchid, Buy the Sport, and Bag Lady Jane. From 18 crops to race, he has progeny earnings of more than $47 million.