Forty Niner, who 'made his mark' as champion and stallion, passes

Forty Niner, the 1987 champion 2-year-old who went on to become an influential Claiborne Farm stallion, died Monday in Japan, where he had just passed his 35th birthday. He was 35.

Connections announced the cause was due to the infirmities of old age well after he was pensioned from stud work in 2007.

Trained by Woody Stephens, the Claiborne homebred son of Mr. Prospector won multiple Grade 1 races as a juvenile, then counted a placing in the Kentucky Derby and Travers Stakes (G1) victory among his highlights in his final season at age 3.

Prominent among Forty Niner’s progeny is Distorted Humor, one of his 22 graded stakes winners who continues to stand at WinStar Farm. Forty Niner also sired 1996 Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note and the fellow Travers hero Coronado’s Quest.

Once transferred to Japan, Forty Niner produced 16 more stakes winners before living his days out on the farm in retirement.

In a tweet Monday, representatives of Claiborne Farm wrote that Forty Niner “made his mark on racing as well as a lasting impact on Japanese breeding. We will fondly remember the copper colored son of Mr. Prospector for years to come!”

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