Champion Chief Bearhart dies in Japan
Chief Bearhart, who was voted champion turf male of 1997 and was twice named Canadian Horse of the Year in 1997-98, died Tuesday in Japan. The 19-year-old, who was suffering from heart failure, had been a stud at the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association (JBBA) Shizunai Stallion Station.
"As Chief Bearhart had been suffering from ill health since early April, we stopped breeding him at that time and had been treating him as best as we can, but unfortunately we are very much saddened that our efforts have come to an end," the JBBA said in statement. "We were hoping he might recover and be able to sire many more winners. Although that did not happen, nothing changes the fact that he was a very good sire for us, and we are very happy to have had the opportunity to stand him."
Bred in Ontario by Richard Maynard, Chief Bearhart was campaigned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad. The son of Chief's Crown record his first stakes win in the 1996 Breeders' Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, winning the 1 1/2-mile grass test by an emphatic 9 1/2 lengths. He also placed that season in the Grade 1 Canadian International.
At age four, Chief Bearhart won five of seven starts en route to Eclipse Award honors. His stakes scores included the Grade 2 Elkhorn, Grade 3 King Edward, Grade 2 Sky Classic, Canadian International and the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf. The latter, contested at Hollywood Park, was a three-quarters of a length triumph over the leading German filly Borgia.
Chief Bearhart won three of nine starts in 1998, taking the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap, Grade 1 Niagara and Sky Classic. He was second in the Canadian International for a second time and ran fourth in his Breeders' Cup Turf title defense at Churchill Downs. The chestnut was retired at the end of his five-year-old campaign with a mark of 26-12-5-3, $3,381,557.
Chief Bearhart's leading offspring were Japanese champions Meiner Recolte and Merci a Time, New Zealand champion filly Shikoba, and Japanese Group 1 hero Meiner Kitz.
Chief Bearhart was produced by the Bold Hour mare Amelia Bearhart, making him a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Explosive Red and the stakes-winning mare Ruby Ransom. The latter produced multiple Grade 2 winner Strut the Stage and multiple Group 3 winner Sacred Song.
Chief Bearhart's third dam was Gold Digger, who produced the legendary sire Mr. Prospector.
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