04/25/2013 1:28PM

Montbrook, leading Florida sire, dead at 23


Montbrook, a Grade 3 winner and a successful Florida-based sire who was pensioned earlier this month, was humanely euthanized on April 12 at J. Michael O’Farrell, Jr.’s Ocala Stud in Ocala, Fla., due to declining health. The Buckaroo horse was 23.

Montbrook was the state’s leading sire in 2002, 2003, 2008, and 2009. The stallion, who was born, raised, and stood his entire career at Ocala Stud, was pensioned after only getting one mare in foal from 12 bred earlier this breeding season.

“You know, it’s been pretty emotional,” David O’Farrell, son of Ocala Stud owner J. Michael O’Farrell, Jr., said Thursday. “He was such a good horse for us. It all happened so quickly—his quality of life really fell quickly, and he was a 23-year-old stallion. He’s been battling some health issues, and as older horses go … he was a horse that aged very quickly, and unfortunately he lost his quality of life, and we had to do what was best for him.”

As of April 23, Montbrook sired 455 winners from 16 crops of racing age who have earned over $42.2 million.  His most successful foal, multiple graded stakes winner and $2.7 million earner Big Drama, received the Eclipse Award as champion sprinter in 2010 after winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs. Big Drama, who retired to Woodford Stallions at Stonewall Farm in Ocala in 2011, has his first foals this year. 

Montbrook was also represented by Monteration, Puerto Rico’s champion imported 3-year-old colt of 2001. Other notable runners include Grade 1 winners Outofthebox and Trust N Luck and Grade 2 winners Tackleberry, Shake You Down, and Shadowbdancing.

“There’s no stallion that’s been as important to Ocala Stud except for maybe Rough’n Tumble [sire of 1968 Horse of the Year Dr. Fager], the stallion that my grandfather [Joseph] brought down from Maryland,” David O’Farrell said. “He was kind of the foundation of Ocala Stud at the beginning, but Montbrook has been rather important as well.

“He meant a lot to Ocala Stud, and he’ll be sorely missed.”

A $260,000 OBS select sale juvenile in 1992, Montbrook won five of his eight career starts, all as a 3-year-old, for earnings of $373,728. He captured four stakes races, highlighted by the Grade 3 Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash and the Grade 3 Riva Ridge Stakes.

Out of the winning Jet Diplomacy mare Secret Papers, Montbrook is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Garden Gal.