04/29/2008 11:00PM

Terlingua, dam of Storm Cat, is dead at 32

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Terlingua, dam of top sire Storm Cat and a four-time graded stakes-winner herself, died Tuesday at age 32.

The Overbrook Farm foundation mare was euthanized due to the infirmities of old age, said farm advisor Ric Waldman.

“It was just aging,” he said. “She’d been going downhill for the last few months. Her condition was tailing off, and she just showed some ailments. We decided she was telling us something.”

Terlingua was one of the first group of mares Overbrook’s founder, the late W.T. Young, bought when he decided to enter the Thoroughbred breeding game.

Bred by Tom Gentry, Terlingua had debuted in 1978 for owners Barry Beal and Lloyd French Jr., winning Hollywood Park’s Nursery Stakes against males in her first start. She went on to take the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, defeating males again, the Del Mar Debutante, and the Hollywood Lassie, all Grade 2; she also was runner-up in the Grade 2 Alcibiades and finished third in the Grade 1 Frizette that season. Terlingua came back at 3 to win the Grade 3 Santa Ynez and ungraded Las Flores and also finished second in the Grade 1 Santa Susana among her stakes performances. She raced just four times at 4, winning the La Brea Stakes.

“She was part of the first package of really top mares that Mr. Young purchased,” Waldman said. “He had just bought some breeding rights to Storm Bird, and he bought these mares to breed to him. Two of the three mares could be bred to him on pedigree, and they were Cinegita, from whom (1994 champion juvenile filly) Flanders descends, and Terlingua, who produced Storm Cat. The other, Arc (de Triomphe) winner Three Troikas, could not go to him on pedigree. We had pretty good success breeding Storm Bird to Cinegita and Terlingua.”

Terlingua’s first foal was a Lyphard filly named Lyphard’s Dancer, who was unraced. But her first mating to Storm Bird in 1982 produced a sire that has left a lasting mark on the breed and the auction ring. A Grade 1 winner, Storm Cat has led the sire standings twice, in 1999 and 2000, and been among the leading sires five more times. Multi-million-dollar auction duels over those foals have been a driving force behind the rise of the Thoroughbred yearling market throughout the 1990s.

Terlingua also is the dam of multiple graded winner and Grade 1-placed Chapel of Dreams, by Northern Dancer.

Terlingua also was well known for her temperament, which one of her handlers, Beth Meredith, described in 2006 as “a real joie de vivre.”

“She was tough and strong, but she seemed to enjoy working with people,” Meredith told Daily Racing Form then. “She wasn’t self-destructive and she wasn’t rank, but she wanted to be the boss--and she usually was, in whatever group she was turned out with. I liked that toughness about her, because she was thinking and smart and fun to be around.”

Terlingua will be buried at Overbrook, Waldman said.