09/01/2012 4:07PM

Theatrical, turf champion, dies at 30


Theatrical, the 1987 champion turf male and winner of that year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, has died at age 30.

The Nureyev horse was euthanized on Friday night due to the infirmities of old age, according to a release from Hill ’n’ Dale farms in Lexington, where Theatrical had been pensioned since 2009.

Bred in Ireland by Mr. and Mrs. Bert Firestone, Theatrical raced for the late Allen E. Paulson and won six Grade 1’s in 1987, culminating in his Breeders’ Cup victory. He also placed in four other Grade 1 stakes in the U.S., including a second in the 1986 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and was Group 1-placed twice, having finished second in the 1985 Irish Derby and in the 1986 Grosser Preis von Berlin in Germany.

Theatrical earned $2,940,036 from a record of 22 starts, 10 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds.

He went on to sire the earners of more than $80 million. He sired 14 millionaires and 22 Grade 1 or Group 1 winners, including Japan’s famed Hishi Amazon, Irish Derby winner Zagreb, and Grade 1 winner Royal Anthem. He also is the broodmare sire of six champions, among them the 2007 turf male English Channel and 2001 Canadian turf male Numerous Times.

“We were honored to stand Theatrical and have him at Hill ’n’ Dale for the past 11 years,” farm president John Sikura said. “He was not only a great stallion, but had become like a member of our family. Our staff has done a fantastic job with the horse and cared for him so personally in his retirement, hand-grazing him and tending to his every need.”

Theatrical was out of stakes-placed Tree of Knowledge, by Sassafras.