03/02/2009 12:00AM

Hall of Famer Manila dies in Turkey


Manila, the 1986 champion male turf horse who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, died on Saturday in Turkey of internal bleeding after his aorta ruptured, according to the Turkish Jockey Club's website. Manila, who was sold to the Turkish Jockey Club in 1996, was 26.

Manila's racing career was highlighted by nine straight stakes victories during a 13-month stretch from June 1986 to July 1987, during his 3-year-old and 4-year-old campaigns. During that period, Manila won four Grade 1 races, including the 1986 Breeders' Cup Turf, consecutive runnings of the United Nations Handicap at Atlantic City Race Course, and the Turf Classic at Belmont Park.

The 1986 Breeders' Cup Turf had one of the deepest fields ever assembled for the race, including the eventual 1987 Breeders' Cup Turf winner Theatrical, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Dancing Brave, and female turf champion Estrapade.

During Manila's 18-race career, he finished worse than second only once - in his first start. Manila set course records at Atlantic City, Keeneland, and Churchill Downs. His career earnings were $2,692,799.

Trained by LeRoy Jolley, Manila was bred by Eduardo Cojuangco, a Phillipine businessman who fled the country after President Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown. He was purchased by Mike Shannon after his winless 2-year-old season in 1985. All of Manila's starts to that point had been on dirt.

Although Manila has been widely regarded as one of the top grass horses in modern racing history, the colt was nominated to the Hall of Fame 11 times before being voted in. After being informed that Manila had won election, Shannon remarked that he divided his life into two parts, "AM and PM: prior to Manila and after Manila."

"It was the greatest thrill to have owned him and been associated with him," Shannon said.

By Lyphard out of the Le Fabuleux mare Dona Ysidra, Manila retired to stud after suffering an injury shortly after winning the 1987 Arlington Million. He initially stood at Lane's End Farm, where he sired multiple Grade 1 winner Bien Bien. While in Turkey, he has sired 169 runners and 89 winners, according to the Turkish Jockey Club.