01/27/2006 1:00AM

Sprint champion Groovy dies at 23


Groovy, 1987 champion sprinter, was euthanized Thursday at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky. The stallion had been pensioned for the last several years because of what WinStar's president, Doug Cauthen, termed "neurological issues" that worsened recently. Groovy was 23.

Groovy campaigned from 1985 to 1987, winning 12 stakes races. Pointed for the Triple Crown in 1986, he managed only a 16th-place finish in the Derby and a sixth-place finish in the Preakness. Sent sprinting, he found his calling.

During his championship season, he took the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes; the Grade 2 Forego, Tom Fool, and True North; the Grade 3 Roseben; and the ungraded Finger Lakes Budweiser Breeders' Cup Stakes. He also set a pair of six-furlong track records, one in 1:07.80 in Belmont's True North and the other in 1:09.40 in the Finger Lakes Budweiser BC. He ended his career with a four-length loss to Very Subtle in the Breeders' Cup Sprint that year. The defeat did not cost him his crown as leading sprinter, and he retired with champion status, a record of 12-4-1 from 26 starts, and earnings of $1,346,956.

Groovy's best runners are Grade 1 winner Brutally Frank and Grade 2 winners Incinerate and Groovy Feeling. At his death, he had sired the earners of $12,219,502. Groovy was a son of Norcliffe out of the Restless Wind mare Tinnitus.