12/05/2008 1:00AM

Flying Pidgeon euthanized at 27


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Grade 1 winner and millionaire Flying Pidgeon was euthanized Friday at the Old Friends equine retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky., because of the infirmities of old age, said the founder of Old Friends, Michael Blowen.

Blowen said that the 27-year-old stallion refused to get up in his paddock Friday morning and, after veterinary consultation, Old Friends agreed to allow Flying Pidgeon to be euthanized.

Flying Pidgeon was a son of Upper Case out of the Minnesota Mac mare Miss Minnesota. He was a tough campaigner who won stakes from Hialeah to Hollywood and from Louisiana Downs to Arlington Park. He won 12 of 56 starts, finishing second 9 times and third 13 times, in a career that earned him $1,154,337. He won the 1986 Grade 1 Hollywood Invitational and also captured consecutive editions of the Grade 2 W. L. McKnight Handicaps and Bougainvillea Handicap in 1985 and 1986. He set a course record of 2:25.80 in the 1 1/2-mile McKnight at Calder in 1985. And he won the 1984 Hurricanes Handicap and 1985 Camden Handicap.

Flying Pidgeon placed in another 18 stakes, most notably the 1985 Arlington Million, 1986 Pan American Handicap, and 1986 Sunset Handicap, all Grade 1 events in which he finished third.

Jane White, who was the last to syndicate Flying Pidgeon in his breeding career, continued to show enormous interest in the stallion after pensioning him to Old Friends after the 2006 breeding season, Blowen said.

Flying Pidgeon sired 13 stakes performers, including graded winner Dancing Rhythm and graded performers Flying American and Pidgeon's Promise.

Flying Pidgeon will be cremated, Blowen said, and Old Friends plans a special tribute to the horse in the spring.