10/09/2006 12:00AM

Unreal Zeal dead at age 26


The successful stallion Unreal Zeal died last month at Fairberry Farm near Waterloo, Ill., euthanized because of old age at 26.

Unreal Zeal, a son of Mr. Prospector born in 1980, had a decent if unspectacular racing record, followed by a long career at stud. Unreal Zeal topped the Illinois general sire list five times, and also stood for a number of years in Florida. Returned to Illinois, he stood at Horizon Farms in Barrington through 2003, moving to Fairberry when Horizon was closed.

As of Monday, Unreal Zeal was second this year in the Illinois general sire standings, with 49 winners and $1,059,571 in progeny earnings. Overall, Unreal Zeal's progeny have earned more than $22 million, and he has sired 28 stakes winners, the best of them perhaps Unreal Madness.

Among his current runners are two Illinois-breds of note, the established stakes horse Lady Riss and the up-and-coming 3-year-old filly Unreal Rocket.