Updated on 12/17/2011 12:11PM

Strike the Gold, Kentucky Derby winner of 1991, dead

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Strike the Gold, with Chris Antley riding, wins the 1991 Kentucky Derby.

Strike the Gold, the 1991 Kentucky Derby winner who became a successful sire in Turkey, died Wednesday after having a heart attack, the Jockey Club of Turkey's longtime adviser Jean-Pierre Deroubaix confirmed Thursday.

Strike the Gold, by Alydar, was 23 and had been the oldest living Derby winner. He died at the Jockey Club of Turkey's Karacabey Pension Stud Farm. He had stood in Turkey since 1999.

"He collapsed and fell," Deroubaix said. "The vet succeeded in waking him up. When he fell he broke his fetlock."

Veterinarians euthanized the horse.

Deroubaix said Strike the Gold had developed laminitis earlier in the year but was doing well before the heart attack. "The problem was his age," he said. "The laminitis was a bit difficult to manage but not a real problem. The horse was doing very well. He was successful in Turkey, a good sire year after year. Nothing exceptional, but he was producing year after year, very good horses."

After finishing second to 1990 champion juvenile Fly So Free in the Florida Derby, Strike the Gold turned the tables on that rival and won the Blue Grass Stakes by three. The pair met again for the Derby, and again Strike the Gold came out on top. Sent off the third choice at 9-2 behind Hansel and Fly So Free, Strike the Gold came from well of the pace to beat the gelding Best Pal by 1 3/4 lengths. He also became the first Derby winner since 1929 to win outside the parameters the popular Dosage system, whose proponents concluded under its pedigree-based formula that he could not win the race with a too-high Dosage figure of 9.00.

After a sixth-place showing in the Preakness, Strike the Gold ran within a head of Hansel in the Belmont Stakes but then endured another 10 races without a victory. It was a bleak time for owners B. Giles Brophy, William Condren, and Joe Cornacchia, whose relationship had become increasingly fractious during the colt's 3-year-old campaign. Almost a year to the day after his Derby win, the partners auctioned Strike the Gold under a tent at Belmont Park, with Condren and Cornacchia buying out Brophy's share. The hammer price was $2.9 million, but Condren and Cornacchia paid just a third of that in the buyout deal.

In his next race four days later on May 9, 1992, Strike the Gold won the Pimlico Special. He went on to take the Grade 2 Nassau County Handicap but did not win another stakes race in his career. He retired in 1993 with 6 wins, 8 seconds, and 5 thirds from 31 lifetime starts. He had won four stakes and placed in 10 others, seven of them in Grade 1 company, and earned $3,457,026.

Strike the Gold started his stud career at Vinery in Lexington, Ky., but was sold in 1998 to Turkey, where he had most of his success as a stallion. His progeny included Turkish champions Sabirli and Arsenic and 2011 Turkish Oaks winner Balcibin. In North America, his leading earner was Grade 3-placed stakes winner Klabin's Gold. He was the leading stallion in Turkey by progeny earnings for 2011. His offspring earned more than $17 million lifetime.

Calumet Farm bred Strike the Gold from the Hatchet Man stakes winner Majestic Gold. Strike the Gold was a full brother to graded winner Greydar.Strike the Gold, the 1991 Kentucky Derby winner who became a successful sire in Turkey, died Wednesday after having a heart attack, the Jockey Club of Turkey's longtime adviser Jean-Pierre Deroubaix confirmed Thursday.

Strike the Gold, by Alydar, was 23 and had been the oldest living Derby winner. He died at the Jockey Club of Turkey's Karacabey Pension Stud Farm. He had stood in Turkey since 1999.

"He collapsed and fell," Deroubaix said. "The vet succeeded in waking him up. When he fell he broke his fetlock."

Veterinarians euthanized the horse.

Deroubaix said Strike the Gold had developed laminitis earlier in the year but was doing well before the heart attack. "The problem was his age," he said. "The laminitis was a bit difficult to manage but not a real problem. The horse was doing very well. He was successful in Turkey, a good sire year after year. Nothing exceptional, but he was producing year after year, very good horses."

After finishing second to 1990 champion juvenile Fly So Free in the Florida Derby, Strike the Gold turned the tables on that rival and won the Blue Grass Stakes by three. The pair met again for the Derby, and again Strike the Gold came out on top. Sent off the third choice at 9-2 behind Hansel and Fly So Free, Strike the Gold came from well of the pace to beat the gelding Best Pal by 1 3/4 lengths. He also became the first Derby winner since 1929 to overturn the popular Dosage system, whose proponents concluded under its pedigree-based formula that he could not win the race with a too-high Dosage figure of 9.00.

After a sixth-place showing in the Preakness, Strike the Gold ran within a head of Hansel in the Belmont Stakes but then endured another 10 races without a victory. It was a bleak time for owners B. Giles Brophy, William Condren, and Joe Cornacchia, whose relationship had become increasingly fractious during the colt's 3-year-old campaign. Almost a year to the day after his Derby win, the partners auctioned Strike the Gold under a tent at Belmont Park, with Condren and Cornacchia buying out Brophy's share. The hammer price was $2.9 million, but Condren and Cornacchia paid just a third of that in the buyout deal.

In his next race four days later on May 9, 1992, Strike the Gold won the Pimlico Special. He went on to take the Grade 2 Nassau County Handicap but did not win another stakes race in his career. He retired in 1993 with 6 wins, 8 seconds, and 5 thirds from 31 lifetime starts. He had won four stakes and placed in 10 others, seven of them in Grade 1 company, and earned $3,457,026.

Strike the Gold started his stud career at Vinery in Lexington, Ky., but was sold in 1998 to Turkey, where he had most of his success as a stallion. His progeny included Turkish champions Sabirli and Arsenic and 2011 Turkish Oaks winner Balcibin. In North America, his leading earner was Grade 3-placed stakes winner Klabin's Gold. He was the leading stallion in Turkey by progeny earnings for 2011. His offspring earned more than $17 million lifetime.

Calumet Farm bred Strike the Gold from the Hatchet Man stakes winner Majestic Gold. Strike the Gold was a full brother to graded winner Greydar.