02/22/2017 7:43PM

Preakness winner Louis Quatorze dies at 24


Louis Quatorze, the winner of the 1996 Preakness Stakes and a perennial top sire in Maryland, died suddenly in his paddock on Feb. 17 at Murmur Farms in Darlington, Md. The 24-year-old son of Sovereign Dancer was buried at Murmur Farms.

Bred in Kentucky by Georgia Hofmann, Louis Quatorze was campaigned as a homebred in a partnership between Hofmann, William Condren, and Joseph Cornacchia, and was trained by Nick Zito.

Louis Quatorze broke his maiden in his second start, a 5 ½-length romp at Saratoga, and finished up his juvenile campaign with runner-up efforts in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes and Futurity Stakes. He came back the following season with a pair of allowance wins at Gulfstream Park before finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

The colt bounced back from that race to finish second in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes, securing a spot in the 1996 Kentucky Derby, where he finished a traffic-addled 16th behind winner Grindstone.

The Preakness Stakes field was left wide open with the sudden retirement of Grindstone due to a bone chip following the Kentucky Derby, and Louis Quatorze capitalized, with jockey Pat Day guiding him to a gate-to-wire score at odds of 8.50-1. His final time of 1:53 2/5 equaled the then-stakes record set by Tank’s Prospect in 1985, but it was later surpassed when review of Secretariat’s 1973 Preakness found the horse to have completed the 1 3/16-mile race in 1:53.

Louis Quatorze completed the classics season with a fourth place finish to Editor’s Note in the Belmont Stakes. He returned for the second half of his sophomore season with a win by a neck over Will’s Way in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes. Will’s Way then turned the tables on his rival in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes.

The colt then began to test older company, finishing out of the money in the Grade 1 Woodbine Million Stakes, but finishing up with a third behind champions Skip Away and Cigar in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes. Louis Quatorze then finished second by a nose to Alphabet Soup in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, with Cigar a close third.

Louis Quatorze won his first two starts at age four, the Grade 3 Crème Fraiche Handicap at Gulfstream Park and Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland, before retiring due to injury. He finished his career with seven wins in 18 starts for earnings of $2,054,434.

Louis Quatorze initially stood at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., and also shuttled to Argentina for four Southern Hemisphere seasons, but was later purchased by Allen and Audrey Murray of Murmur Farms and moved to Maryland beginning with the 2004 breeding season.

With 17 crops of racing age, Louis Quatorze has sired 600 winners and amassed combined progeny earnings of more than $36.6 million.

His top domestic runners include Grade 1 winner Bushfire, Grade 2 winners Repent, Choctaw Nation, and Sweet Goodbye, and Grade 3 winner Second of June. Internationally, Louis Quatorze was led by two time Dominican champion Ivan C, Trinidad and Tobago champion French Academy, Argentine Group 2 winner Mi Rey, and Group 3 winner Good Student

Louis Quatorze’s bloodline lives on as a broodmare sire through Chilean champion Matter of Time, Grade 1 winner Dance to Bristol, Argentine Group 1 winners El Margot, Lange, and Puerto Escondido, Group 2 winners Dandini, Timberlake, and Vivencial, Group 3 winner Nickelback, and six-time New York-bred stakes winner Sunny Desert.