First winners for War Pass, Chelokee
That turned out to be his final start, and War Pass retired to Lane's End with a mark of 7-5-1-0, $1,583,400. He stood at the Versailles, Kentucky, farm for two seasons and also shuttled to Widden Stud in Australia for Southern Hemisphere duties.
Sadly, War Pass died upon his return from Australia to Kentucky on Christmas Eve 2010. He apparently made the trip in good order, and was turned out in his paddock at Lane's End, only to pass away several hours later. A necropsy failed to pinpoint the cause of death.
The tale of Chelokee has a happier ending. One of the promising three-year-olds of 2007, Chelokee finished third in his stakes debut in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, and moved forward off that effort to win the Barbaro Stakes at Pimlico. His victory was especially poignant: he was conditioned by Barbaro's trainer Michael Matz, and he won that race on the Preakness undercard, almost a year to the day following Barbaro's catastrophic breakdown.
Chelokee next showed inflexible determination in the Grade 3 Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill Downs. Passed by Zanjero, Chelokee fought back to prevail by a neck. He did not race again until early 2008, returning to action with an optional claiming victory at Gulfstream Park.
Ready to tackle a graded stakes again, Chelokee lined up in the Grade 3 Alysheba on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill. But tragedy unfolded as he went wrong at the top of the stretch and was pulled up. Originally diagnosed with a condylar fracture of his right front leg, Chelokee had actually dislocated the sesamoids in that ankle.
Dr. Larry Bramlage performed surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, and Chelokee made it through the lengthy recovery and rehabilitation to enter stud at Vinery near Lexington, Kentucky, in 2009.
From that first crop came Sunday's winner, Lady Kee, who dominated the 5TH race at Prairie Meadows on the front end. With David Mello aboard, the Jon Arnett trainee shook off 3-5 favorite Rockport Jewell and widened her advantage to 5 1/2 lengths at the wire. Lady Kee completed the 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight in :52 3/5 on the fast track. Out of multiple stakes winner Fantango Lady, by Lytrump, she was bred in Iowa by owner William L. Hobbs.
After Chelokee stood one season at Vinery, his owner, Centennial Farms, decided to donate him to the University of Arizona Equine Center in Tucson. He continues to stand there for a fee of $2,000 and receives the extra care and attention he needs in the wake of his injury.
For updates on Chelokee, including photos, visit the program's Facebook page.
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