Updated on 09/17/2011 2:07PM

Free House made an impact


DEL MAR, Calif. - The death of on Monday has cost the California Thoroughbred breeding industry one of its most promising young stallions.

Free House died as the result of a head injury suffered when he reared up and flipped over while being bathed at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif. Free House stood at Vessels throughout his five-year stud career.

The California-bred horse of the year in 1997 and 1998, Free House's potential as a stallion will not be fully realized. Although Free House led the state's freshman stallion in 2003 with progeny earnings of $348,439, he will only be represented by five crops.

By today's standards for stallions, Free House was not bred to large books. According to The Jockey Club's record of mares bred, Free House was bred to 78 mares in 2000, 44 in 2001, 39 in 2002, and 51 in 2003, the most recent year that statistics are available.

The first crop excelled enough to make Free House the 20th-ranked stallion on the national freshman stallion list in 2003. Through Wednesday, Free House was 17th on the 2004 national second-crop sire list with progeny earnings of $553,388.

Free House's top earner is House of Fortune, who has been prominent in the national 3-year-old filly division this year. Owned by Arnold Zetcher and trained by Ron McAnally, House of Fortune has won 6 of 10 starts and $500,819. Purchased for $125,000 at the 2003 Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training, House of Fortune has won five stakes, including the 2003 California Cup Juvenile Fillies, and the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes and Grade 2 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks this year.

House of Fortune is being pointed for the $300,000 Clement Hirsch Handicap against older fillies and mares at Del Mar on Aug. 8.

Free House was bred and campaigned by Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan. In a four-year career from 1996 to 1999, Free House won 9 of 22 starts, eight stakes, and earned $3,178,971 under the direction of trainer Paco Gonzalez.

In 1997, Free House beat Silver Charm in the Santa Anita Derby and was stakes placed in all three legs of the Triple Crown. He was third in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Preakness Stakes, and third in the Belmont Stakes. Later in the year, Free House won the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. He finished the campaign with earnings of $1,336,910.

In 1998, Free House won the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar and finished second to Silver Charm in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap.

In 1999, his final year on the track, Free House won the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap and San Antonio Handicap and finished second to Real Quiet in the Pimlico Special.

There are two Free House yearlings - a colt and a filly - in the Del Mar yearling sale Aug. 16. The colt is out of the Crowned Jewel mare Icy Morn, who won 20 of 39 starts and $380,668.

The filly is out of Red Radiance, the dam of Earl of Danby, who won the 2001 California Breeders Champion Stakes for McCaffery and Toffan. Earl of Danby is by Smokester, the sire of Free House.

Barretts moves back March sale

Barretts will hold its annual March sale of 2-year-olds in training on March 15, 2005. The date is two weeks later than the corresponding sale this year and was pushed back in response to changes in the national sales calendar, the company said.

The training previews for the 2005 sale will be held on Monday, March 7 and Sunday, March 13.

* Barretts announced that Mark Maronde has rejoined the company as a national field representative after spending two years in New Zealand. Maronde will be based in Kentucky.