03/15/2015 4:57PM

Ogygian dies following bout of colic at 32

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Ogygian, a multiple Grade 1 winner, prominent sire, and the oldest resident at Old Friends Equine Retirement in Georgetown, Ky., was euthanized Saturday due to complications from colic. He was 32 years old.

A son of Damascus, Ogygian was bred in Florida by Tartan Farms Corp. and raced as a homebred for the stable of William L. McKnight. He was out of the winning Francis S. mare Gonfalon, whose eight winners from 10 runners include Grade 1-placed stakes winner Lookinforthebigone and stakes-placed Diggings and Moving Shoulder.

Ogygian went undefeated during his 2-year-old season in 1985, culminating with a 9 1/2-length victory in the Grade 1 Futurity Stakes at Belmont. However, he was removed from the Triple Crown trail that December after kicking a rail in training. The injury required surgery to remove bone chips from his right hind ankle, which sidelined him for four months.

He resurfaced in April 1986, to finish second in his 3-year-old debut. Ogygian then embarked on a four-race winning streak that included victories in the Grade 1 Dwyer Stakes and Jerome Handicap, as well as the listed Riva Ridge Stakes. He trained up to that year’s Travers Stakes, but was scratched due to sloppy track conditions.

After a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Pegasus Handicap, Ogygian’s ankle once again stalled his campaign, requiring surgery to clear out bone chips. He made one start at age 4 before retiring.

Ogygian finished his on-track career with 7 wins in 10 starts for earnings of $455,520. He was trained by Jan Nerud.

Ogygian entered stud at Claiborne Farm in for the 1988 breeding season. He lost his left eye in a breeding shed accident at the Paris, Ky. farm and was sold to East Farm in Japan in 1995.

His leading U.S. runners included Grade 2 winners Dice Dancer and Ramblin Guy, Grade 3 winners D’Hallevant, Digital Dan, and Fly’n J. Bryan, and stakes winners Quiet Enjoyment and Denim Yenem. In Japan, Ogygian was led by Group 2 winner Eishin Washington, Group 3 winner Battle Line, Taiki Dia, Fujino Condor, and Jo De Shiraoki.

Ogygian was pensioned in 2005, ending a stallion career in which he sired 861 foals from 17 crops. His 473 winners, including 11 in graded or group stakes company, earned more than $52 million.

Four sons of Ogygian are currently advertised at stud in North America: Connecticut, Love My M. D., Quiet Enjoyment, and Tropic Lightning, all standing in regional markets.

His greatest success at stud, though, came as a broodmare sire. Among the notable runners out of Ogygian mares are champion Johannesburg and Grade/Group 1 winners Street Boss, Freluche, Question, Gygistar, Johan Cruyff, and Spartacus, and Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up Friendly Island.

Ogygian was one of the first three sires returned to the U.S. from Japan by Old Friends, joining pensioners Sunshine Forever, who died in 2014, and Creator, who also died of colic on Feb. 28.

Old Friends has since become a frequent partner with Japanese farms when popular U.S. runners are pensioned at stud, with the most notable example being Horse of the Year Silver Charm, who arrived at the farm in December.

Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, said Ogygian was purchased for 1.5 million Japanese yen (about $13,400). He was acquired with the assistance of Megumi Igarashi at bloodstock agency Narvick International and arrived at the farm in August 2005.

“When Ogygian first arrived, I received an unexpected phone call from turf writer Russ Harris,” Blowen said. “He said to me, ‘I saw Secretariat and Seattle Slew and all the big races for several decades, and you, sir, have the greatest horse I ever laid eyes on.’ I couldn't agree more.

“We are honored that Ogygian allowed us to care for him for these past 10 years,” Blowen continued. “He was one-of-a-kind.” 

Ogygian was believed to be the last living stallion by Damascus, who died in 1995. Ogygian's death leaves Gulch, now 31, as the oldest resident of the Old Friends Kentucky base.

Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
I remember Ogygian with a lot of affection. Woody always baiting him over his injury layups. Albert Finney, a racing fan calling him "Oxygen!" Very cleverly managed and handled by Jan Nerud.....maybe a little help from his Father. We CAN ask his Father that God Bless Him!!
Bob More than 1 year ago
One of the greatest ever. Never gets mentioned. RIP
Beth Tashery Shannon More than 1 year ago
The formidable athlete and progenitor of two Eclipse Award winners was even greater in wisdom and spirit. His old age was characterized by wisdom and zest for life. All the way to last day he vastly enjoyed just being Ogygian. - Beth at Old Friends
Joyce Patci More than 1 year ago
Well said Beth. Thanks for all of the loving care you gave the grand old man.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
RIP, Beautiful Boy, you bring back many good memories. Condolences to one and all at Old Friends.
Joyce Patci More than 1 year ago
"Oggy" loved shredded carrots, so we made sure we always had some in a baggie or cup. If he didn't walk over to the fence, I would walk around the outside of his paddock to where ever he might be. His favorite spot was in a corner, under the trees. RIP old boy, we're so glad we got to know you.
Donna Hathaway More than 1 year ago
RIP old boy. I always thought he was one of the handsomest horses I ever saw.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
I was an Ogygian fan. What I know well is his offspring loved the mud. RIP O , you danced the dance.
mike More than 1 year ago
Very sorry to hear of his passing,was hoping to see him again.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Have you visited Silver Charm Mike?