05/27/2015 12:32PM

Willcox Inn dies following paddock accident


Willcox Inn, a Grade 2 winner and first-year sire, was euthanized due to injuries from a paddock accident on May 24.

The 7-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday was finishing his debut season in the breeding shed at Saratoga Stud in Stillwater, N.Y., where he was standing for an advertised fee of $5,000.

“This is so sad, not only for the connections and for breeders in New York, but for the breed as a whole,” said Suzie O’Cain of Saratoga Stud. “A few weeks ago we saw a son of the late Harlan’s Holiday sire a Kentucky Oaks winner in his first crop [Lovely Maria by Airdrie Stud’s Majesticperfection]. This is turning out to be a significant sire line and there aren’t going to be too many more of them.”

Willcox Inn raced at points around the country, but he was best known as a local hero in the Chicago area, earning all four of his career stakes victories at Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course.

During his 3-year-old season in 2011, he won the Grade 2 American Derby and the listed Arlington Classic Stakes on the turf at Arlington and the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby on the grass at Hawthorne. Two years later, he took the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap over the all-weather Polytrack at Arlington.

Willcox Inn also placed second in two editions of the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes, including a runner-up effort to eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan in 2012, and ran third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf during his 2-year-old campaign.

In total, Willcox Inn retired with six wins in 22 starts for earnings of $1,015,543.

He campaigned for the All In Stable of partners Mariette Farrell, John Adger, Jack Hodge, Marty Nixon, Ron Lepinsky, and Al Lepinsky throughout his entire on-track career. Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stables bought into the horse near the end of his 3-year-old campaign. The horse was trained by Michael Stidham.

Bred in Kentucky by Dr. John A. Chandler, Willcox Inn was out of the Grade 3-placed Gone West mare De Aar, whose three winners from five runners also includes stakes-placed Francisca. His extended family features Grade 1 winners Cetewayo and Dynaforce. Willcox Inn was a $50,000 purchase at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale.

“He was developing into such a beautiful stallion during his first year in the breeding shed,” O’Cain said. “When he came to us, he was race fit and looked like a racehorse. This spring and summer he has been filling out and looking 100 percent like a first-class sire.”