06/21/2007 11:00PM

Euthanized at 24, Waquoit still delivering


Much can be said for the blue-collar sires, those who grind it out year after year, offering breeders a good chance at success for a modest price and occasionally producing a standout. Waquoit fits the profile exactly.

Age finally caught up with the massively built Waquoit at 24. A nearly 17-hand gray son of Relaunch who made his career at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Md., Waquoit was euthanized on June 14 due to infirmities of old age.

And in typical workmanlike fashion, Waquoit "was good to the farm till the end," said Dr. Tom Bowman, the renowned equine veterinarian and a partner and co-founder of Northview Stallion Station. The last few mares bred by Waquoit this year have been pronounced in foal.

The first stallion syndicated to stand at Northview Stallion Station when it opened for business in 1989, filling the void when famed Windfields Farm closed its doors, Waquoit was popular from the start. He joined three of Maryland's heavy hitters - former Windfields stallions Caveat, Two Punch, and Smarten - and fit right in. Syndicated into 30 shares, Waquoit stood for $15,000. In his first crop, he sired 52 foals.

"He was a pleasant horse to be around," reflected Bowman. "He was easy to care for, easy to handle."

The big gray had proven on the track that he was durable and rugged, racing four years through 30 career starts while holding his own against the best horses in training. A stakes winner each year he raced, Waquoit, who ran for Joseph Federico, made his mark at Suffolk Downs at 2, then moved on to New York. He won the one-mile Gradeo3 Jamaica Handicap at 3, and at 4 won the Grade 1 Brooklyn Handicap along with the Grade 2 Michigan Mile and Massachusetts handicaps. At age 5, he stepped it up, finishing third or better in his seven starts, six in graded stakes.

Waquoit repeated in the 1988 Brooklyn, then strode away to take the Jockey Club Gold Cup by 15 lengths over a sloppy track, getting the 1 1/2 miles in 2:27.60. He concluded his career with a solid third in the Breeders' Cup Classic, won by Alysheba. Setting the pace, Waquoit gave the Northview connections a thrill when they saw the gray emerge from the fog in front coming around the far turn on that drizzly, dark afternoon at Churchill Downs. He retired with 13 stakes wins and career earnings of more than $2.2 million.

Waquoit's best runner was his millionaire daughter Halo America, who went on to produce stakes winners Quick Temper and Marino Marini.

"Because of the Relaunch line, I thought he would be a good broodmare sire," said Bowman. "Especially with his daughters, who showed speed and had good size."

Another of his daughters, Ice Beauty, produced classic-placed Sweetnorthernsaint.

Waquoit's 30 stakes winners include many cut from the same cloth as their sire. His son Docent made 36 starts, winning 16 times, 12 of them stakes. Another son, graded winner Wicapi, won eight stakes, while Al's Dearly Bred, who has raced eight seasons, captured the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes last year at age 9.

In the waning years of his stud career, Waquoit stood for a fee of $5,000, and continued to offer breeders an excellent chance of coming up with a winner. Not counting his current crop of 21 juveniles, who have yet to start, Waquoit has 80 percent starters from foals, and 78 percent of those starters have won. Like their sire, they are blue-collar runners who can cash a paycheck.

Northview looks ahead

Domestic Dispute, whose first foals are now yearlings, is well-represented in this year's first major yearling sale. Seven yearlings by Domestic Dispute, a multiple graded-stakes-winning son of Unbridled's Song, are found in the catalog for the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale, to be held on July 16 and 17. That is the most for any Maryland stallion in the sale.

Domestic Dispute was the leading sire of weanlings at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale, with a $68,000 colt topping nine sold. The big, stylish chestnut stallion, who has been covering books of 100-plus mares each year since entering stud, has 73 foals in his first crop.