January 31, 2023

Dual grass champion Ouija Board dies at 21

Ouija Board
Ouija Board (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

Ouija Board, who earned two Eclipse Awards as champion turf mare following wins in the 2004 and 2006 editions of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), died Tuesday at the age of 21, according to various online reports.

Campaigned in the historic black silks and white cap of her breeder, Lord Derby, Ouija Board proved a champion of the highest caliber across the globe. In addition to her Breeders’ Cup wins at Lone Star Park in 2004 and Churchill Downs in 2006, Ouija Board earned classic victories in the Oaks (G1) at Epsom and Irish Oaks (G1) in 2004. She also defeated males in the 2005 Hong Kong Vase (G1) at Sha Tin and 2006 Prince of Wales’s (G1) at Royal Ascot.

Her rewarding trip to Hong Kong was one of several she made to the far east. Though no others resulted in success, she was beaten 2 1/2 lengths or fewer in two renewals of the Japan Cup (G1) and missed by a head in a return trip to Sha Tin for the 2006 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1).

Other highlights of Ouija Board’s career included a victory in the 2006 Nassau (G1), her last win in Europe, and placings in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), Coronation Cup (G1), and Irish Champion (G1). She also finished second to Intercontinental in her title defense of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Belmont Park in 2005.

Trained by Ed Dunlop, Ouija Board compiled a record of 22-10-3-5, $6,334,296.

Bred in England, Ouija Board was sired by Cape Cross and was produced by Selection Board, a Welsh Pageant full sister to Lord Derby’s 1985 Arlington Million (G1) winner Teleprompter.

Although she produced only five foals, Ouija Board made an historic impact as a broodmare. Her penultimate foal turned out to be Australia, who in 2014 captured the Derby at Epsom, the Irish Derby, and Juddmonte International. Australia was the second Epsom Derby winner by a Derby winner (Galileo) out of an Oaks winner, and the first whose parents were both first past the post at Epsom; 1995 Derby winner Lammtarra was by a Derby winner (Nijinsky) out of an Oaks winner (Snow Bride), but Snow Bride’s Oaks victory came on the disqualification of the first horse past the post, Aliysa, due to a positive drug test.

Also among Ouija Board’s offspring was the Group 1-placed stakes winner Frontiersman and Voodoo Prince, a Group 3 winner in Australia.

“In our wildest dreams, we never imagined we could breed a horse that would be a global record-breaker and inspire so many with so many happy memories,” Lord and Lady Derby said in a statement.

“She was simply the best and always had the most wonderful temperament; she loved a hug and a polo mint every time we walked around the stud. We were so lucky to have her in our lives as she brought us so much joy. The fun and the pleasure that she gave us in a four-year journey around the globe will give us happy memories forever.”