12/22/2016 1:54PM

Turkoman, champion older horse of 1986, euthanized at 34

Barbara D. Livingston
Turkoman was the champion older horse of 1986, when he won two Grade 1s and finished second in the BC Classic.

Turkoman, the champion older horse of 1986 and a prominent broodmare sire, was euthanized Wednesday due to ongoing hind-end issues. He was 34.

The son of Alydar had resided at E.A. Ranches in Ramona, Calif. since 2005, and had been pensioned there since 2008, save for a brief stint at another farm.

“He meant a lot to us,” said Sherrie Tellam, assistant manager at E.A. Ranches. “He was very famous. He had people that came out just to visit him. A gal came out every weekend and brought him bananas. He was a great racehorse, he was a great sire, and a great broodmare sire.”

A homebred of Corbin Robertson’s Saron Stable and trained by Gary Jones, Turkoman won his lone juvenile start, then returned to finish second to Skywalker in his 3-year-old allowance bow. Turkoman’s 3-year-old campaign featured a win in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes at Hollywood Park, runner-up efforts in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, Swaps Stakes, and Grade 2 California Derby, as well as a third-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Aqueduct.

Turkoman posted his best campaign at age 4, winning the Tallahassee Handicap and Grade 1 Widener Handicap at Hialeah Park and the Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park to kick off the season. He picked up steam once again in the summer, with a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Forego Handicap, followed by a win in the Grade 1 Marlboro Cup Handicap and a second by a head in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. His final start came in the 1986 Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he once again finished second behind Skywalker.

However, Turkoman came out on top in the end, securing the Eclipse Award for champion older male of 1986 by a margin of two voting blocs to one over Precisionist.

Barbara Livingston visits Turkoman, then 31, at E.A. Ranches

Turkoman retired to Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Ky., for the 1987 breeding season, and stood there for 12 years before being relocated to Circle H Ranch in California for the 1999 season. He moved within the state to Mira Loma Thoroughbred Farm for one season in 2004, and then finished out his career at E.A. Ranches.

The issues with strength in his hind end first became apparent at the end of his stud career, when difficulty supporting his own weight during breeding led to his pensioning.

Over the course of his stud career, Turkoman sired 21 crops, with 394 winners and combined progeny earnings of $26,103,105. His 34 stakes winners were led by Peruvian champion Captain Garfio; Grade 1 winners Turk Passer and Man From Wicklow; and Grade 3 winners Miss Turkana, Personal Merit, Young Daniel, and Missymooiloveyou.

Turkoman’s greatest impact, though, came as a broodmare sire, with his daughters producing 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given; Grade 1 winners Hard Spun, Colonel John, and Mr. Hot Stuff; Grade 2 winner Pleasant Breeze; and Grade 3 winners Hotstufanthensome, Silver Charades, Ommadon, Purely Cozzene, Aavelord, and Pink Champagne.

Internationally, Turkoman’s highlights as a broodmare sire include Ecuadorian champion Running Back, Puerto Rican champion Mister Fanucci, and Mexican champion Vivian Record.

When his stud career came to a close, Turkoman’s shareholders were divided on continuing to pay for the horse into his retirement, leading the stallion to be sent from E.A. Ranches to a les- expensive farm to live out his days.

Reports came from the new farm that Turkoman was failing to settle in after several months, to the point of taking a physical toll on the horse, leading E.A. Ranches manager Marguerite Eliasson to arrange a partnership including herself, members of the Robertson family, fans of the horse, and Kentucky-based Our Mims Retirement Haven to bring Turkoman back to the stud farm and pay for his pensioning. He returned to E.A. Ranch in October 2008 and remained there for the rest of his life.

Barbara Livingston chronicles Turkoman's racing and stud career through her lense.

Tellam said Turkoman was cremated, and will be interred at Our Mims with his dam, the Argentine champion Taba, and his half-sister Taba Dance, who both spent their final years at the Kentucky farm.

“Even right up to the end, he had a great heart and a bright look in his eye, but it was time,” Tellam said. “He was 34 coming on 35 and it was the best thing to do. We all loved him very much. He outlived most of his owners, so that was a big thing.”