04/29/2012 5:39PM

Dynaformer, sire of Barbaro, dies at 27

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Three Chimneys Farm
Dynaformer, 27, whose progency have earned more than $110 million, was euthanized Sunday following complications from heart disease.

Dynaformer -- sire of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, multi-million-dollar earner Perfect Drift, and three-time steeplechase champion McDynamo -- has died two weeks after an aortic valve rupture prompted Three Chimneys Farm to pension him. A 27-year-old son of Roberto, Dynaformer  was euthanized at about noon Sunday, the Midway, Ky., farm announced.

Three Chimneys president Case Clay had said earlier this year that the farm would limit the popular stallion’s book to 40 mares this year, but he was abruptly pensioned April 14 when the heart problem became apparent. 

“After Dynaformer had been stabilized, an ultrasound performed on April 15 revealed several holes in his heart as a result of the heart attack, one measuring eight centimeters long and two others measuring two centimeters each,” the Three Chimneys release said. “Dynaformer had been resting comfortably, eating well, and maintaining his daily turnout routine in the weeks following his heart scare, but his health took a turn the evening of Saturday, April 28.”

Three Chimneys veterinarian Dr. Jim Morehead said: “Dynaformer told us when it was his time to go. Amazingly, he had been comfortable after his initial crisis on April 14 and had been able to go to his paddock daily, A normal horse would not have survived his initial cardiac episode. He did everything in his terms, including deciding when he’s had enough.”

Dynaformer, one of the last sons of Roberto, died on what would have been the ninth birthday of his famous but ill-fated son, Barbaro. The 2006 Derby winner died months after his catastrophic breakdown in the 2006 Preakness Stakes, following surgery and a long recovery that helped make him one of the era’s most popular horses --  and which gained more attention for his sire among the wider public.

Dynaformer was far from ordinary. He began his stud career at Nathan Fox’s Wafare Farm in 1990 with a $3,500 fee and gradually rose through the stallion ranks. As the flagship sire at Three Chimneys he commanded a $150,000 stud fee this year. Famous as a versatile sire, though not always popular at auction due to his progeny’s often plain looks, Dynaformer sired such runners as English champions Lucarno and Blue Bunting, European champion Rainbow View, Melbourne Cup winner and Australian champion Americain, millionaire Dynever, and Grade 1 winners Riskaverse, Film Maker, and Dynaforce.

At his death, Dynaformer’s progeny earnings stood at more than $110 million, his daughters had produced 78 stakes winners, and he was ranked 28th among broodmare sires.

“Dynaformer’s tough spirit will continue to influence our breed for many years to come,” Three Chimneys founder and owner Robert Clay said. “He reminds us that looks aren’t everything and that the will to win is that intangible ingredient we are all striving to find.”

 Dynaformer was equally well known for his irascible temperament. 

“He commanded respect and total attention at all times,” Three Chimneys stallion manager Sandy Hatfield said. “He had earned every bit of his reputation as being one of the toughest stallions in the industry, but when it came to his job in the breeding shed, he was a total professional. In my opinion, our industry has lost one of the greatest sires it will ever see,”

At the farm, where he was regarded with affection and great respect, he also was referred to as “The Hannibal Lecter of Horses,” which also became the hash tag for any updates about his on the Three Chimneys Twitter account. And these updates were needed, thanks to the loyalty of his many fans in both the Thoroughbred racing and breeding and sport-horse worlds. 

“I was always on the lookout for offspring of Dynaformer as flat and steeplechase horses,” said Ann Banks, a Thoroughbred owner and breeder who also owns show horses. “They were the full package: good bone, athleticism, fabulous movers, and a flexible and natural movement like no other. The breeding industry, the flat and steeplechase industries, and the show world have truly lost one of their greatest producers.”

He had covered 20 mares in the season, with none pronounced in foal but seven due for pregnancy scans this month.

Dynaformer will be buried alongside Rahy and Wild Again in the three Chimneys stallion cemetery.

Three Chimneys announced that the public is invited to pay respects to Dynaformer during the Annual Three Chimneys Kentucky Derby week open house on Thursday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. A memorial service will take place at 12:30 p.m. that day in the stallion cemetery.