01/24/2011 4:19PM

Jade Hunter, sire of Azeri, euthanized

Barbara D. Livingston
Jade Hunter, sire of three-time champion and 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, was 27.

Jade Hunter, dual Grade 1 winner and sire of Hall of Fame mare Azeri, has died at age 27 in Lexington. Ky.

A Mr. Prospector horse, Jade Hunter was euthanized Jan. 23 at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute because of complications from colic. Since 2009, he had been a pensioner at the Old Friends equine retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky.

Azeri, 2002’s Horse of the Year and a three-time champion, was easily Jade Hunter’s best runner. She won 11 Grade 1 races and earned $4,079,820, earning divisional titles as champion older mare three consecutive times, from 2002 to 2004. Azeri entered the Hall of Fame in 2010 on her first nomination to the ballot.

Jade Hunter also sired multiple Grade 1 winner Yagli, a record-setting millionaire on the turf, and such Grade 1 winners as Diazo, Global Hunter, and Stuka, among other notables.

Jade Hunter won the Gulfstream Park and Donn Handicaps in 1988, and he finished second in two other graded events, the Widener and Seminole Handicaps, in 1987. Bred by E.A. Cox, he raced first for Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, who paid $700,000 for him at the 1985 Keeneland July yearling auction. Bruce McNall’s Summa Stable later purchased him privately, and Allen Paulson bought an interest before Jade Hunter won the Gulfstream Park Handicap. That was his last start. Jade Hunter fractured his right front cannon bone during a workout and was retired to stud at Paulson’s Brookside Farm.

Jade Hunter last stood in New York before the Paulson Trust donated him to Old Friends. Old Friends plans a memorial service for both Jade Hunter and Polish Navy, who died Jan. 6, this spring.