01/21/2011 12:19PM

Two-time BC Mile winner Miesque dead at age 27

Miesque wins her first Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park in 1987.

Miesque, the first two-time winner of a Breeders’ Cup race and a champion in both Europe and America, was euthanized Thursday due to the infirmities of old age at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky, where she had been pensioned following a brilliant career as a broodmare. She was 27 years old.

Imperious on the racecourse, the daughter of Nureyev and the Prove Out mare Pasadoble electrified Breeders’ Cup crowds at Hollywood Park in 1987 and at Churchill Downs a year later when storming to victory in the Mile. Using her fantastic acceleration, she sped away to victories of 3 1/2 lengths and 4 lengths, landing Eclipse Award honors as the best filly of mare on turf both years. She was also the highest rated 3-year-old filly in Europe in 1987 and the champion European racehorse of any age or sex as a 4-year-old in 1988.

“Miesque was part of our lives. She was unique and gave us immense pleasure,” the Niarchos family said in a prepared statement.

Miesque made a career out of beating colts. As a 2-year-old she did so in her six-furlong debut at Deauville. Two starts later she beat the boys again in the seven-furlong Prix de la Salamandre. She concluded her juvenile campaign with a victory in the one-mile, Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac to be named French champion 2-year-old of either sex.

She began her sophomore season with a win in the listed Prix Imprudence, a race named for the only filly who had won both the English and French 1000 Guineas, a feat she promptly duplicated. An effort at 1 5/16 miles in the French Oaks proved a bit too long for her as she finished four lengths second to Indian Skimmer, one of only four losses she would suffer in her 16-race career.

PPS AND REPLAYS: Download Miesque's lifetime past performances | Watch replays >>

The Oaks would also be the last time Miesque was restricted to running against her own sex. She followed with one-mile victories in the Prix Jacques Le Marois and the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. A trip to Ascot saw her finish second to Milligram in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but set her up perfectly for the first of her two Breeders’ Cup Mile triumphs in which she beat Milligram into 13th place.

Miesque raced just four times at 4. A victory in the 1 1/8-mile, 55-yard Prix d’Ispahan proved she could win beyond a mile. Her second Jacques Le Marois victory came after a 2 1/2-month layoff. Improbably, she prepped for her second Breeders’ Cup Mile triumph with another loss when second to Soviet Star in the Prix du Moulin. All told, Miesque won 10 times at the Group 1 or Grade 1 level.

Miesque was ridden in all of her races by Freddie Head save her loss to Soviet Star when she was partnered by Steve Cauthen.

“Her death is very sad,” Head said form his training yard in Chantilly. “She was brilliant. She had a lot of speed but pulled you hard. I always had to wait with her but she was great. On a given day I rode horses that were as good as she was, but I never rode one better than her.”

MORE FROM SHUBACK: Memories of Miesque

Retired after her second Mile victory, Miesque stood at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky where she produced the prominent stallion Kingmambo, the winner of the French 2000 Guineas, the St. James’s Palace Stakes, and the Prix du Moulin, and who himself was the sire of classic winners King’s Best, Lemon Drop Kid, Henrythenavigator, Divine Proportions, King Kamehameha and El Condor Pasa. Miesque is also the dam of East of the Moon, who like her mother won both the French 1000 Guineas and the Prix Jacques Le Marois as well as the French Oaks that had eluded her dam. Miesque was also the dam of Monavassia, herself the dam of European 2-year-old filly champion Rumplestiltskin.

Miesque is member of both the French and American racing halls of fame. She is commemorated in France by Maisons-Laffitte’s Group 3 Prix Miesque and in America by Hollywood Park’s Grade 3 Miesque Stakes.


1987 Breeders' Cup Mile

1988 Breeders' Cup Mile