05/14/2007 11:00PM

Lite Light dead at 19


Lite Light, winner of the 1991 Kentucky Oaks and three other Grade 1 races, died May 5 after foaling at Spring Hill Farm in Casanova, Va., the farm's manager confirmed Tuesday.

A Majestic Light mare, Lite Light was 19. Her Mineshaft filly survived and "is thriving on a nurse mare," said the manager, Chris Baker.

Lite Light, whose death was first reported by Thoroughbred Times, died from hemorrhaging after giving birth at Spring Hill, owned by Edward P. Evans, Baker said. Evans had purchased Lite Light in 2004.

Sold for just $35,000 at the 1989 Keeneland September yearling auction, Lite Light went on to become one of the top racemares of her generation. Her buyer at the September sale, the late Jack Finley, campaigned her at 2 and early during her 3-year-old season but sold her privately for a reported $1 million to the rap singer M. C. Hammer after she won her first Grade 1 race, the Las Virgenes, in 1991.

Hammer and his family's Oaktown Stable campaigned the filly for the rest of her career, collecting victories in the Santa Anita Oaks, Kentucky Oaks, and Coaching Club American Oaks in 1991.

When she retired from racing, Lite Light had earned $1,231,596 from 8 wins in 26 lifetime starts. Seven of those victories were in stakes company. She also had four second-place and four third-place finishes.

Hammer filed for bankruptcy in 1996, and in 1998 Lite Light went through Keeneland's November mixed sale in foal to Gone West. Carl Icahn's Foxfield operation purchased her for $750,000, only to sell her again for $650,000 at the 2004 November auction, where Evans bought her. As a broodmare, Lite Light produced 2001 English Group 2 winner Saddad and Japanese stakes-winner Gaily Egret.

Evans owns two fillies out of Lite Light, the 2007 Mineshaft foal and a yearling Grand Slam daughter.

"We're more likely to keep those than sell them," Baker said. "We're optimistic that these two fillies we'll have out of her will be able to carry on at the racetrack and then hopefully in the breeding shed."

Baker said Lite Light has been buried at Spring Hill.