Old age catches up with leading sire Theatrical

Leading Kentucky sire Theatrical (27) has been retired from stud duty at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms due to old age and declining fertility.

“What’s best for our horses always comes first,” Hill ‘n’ Dale manager John Sikura said.  “It’s the proper thing to do.  Theatrical will live out his retirement years here.  It was an honour to stand such an important stallion whose influence is likely to live on through many generations to come.”

Theatrical (Nureyev – Tree of Knowledge by Sassafras) was bred in Ireland by Bert and Diana Firestone and they raced him in the United States with the late Allen Paulson.

A winner of 10 of his 22 starts, Theatrical earned $2.94 million in a career that ended with a thrilling victory over European superstar Trempolino at Hollywood Park in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Theatrical (Nureyev) began his racing career in Ireland, but it took off when he was moved to the USA winning six Group 1 races in 1987 with Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.  He started with the Hialeah Turf Cup in Florida, then went to Belmont Park to add the Red Smith Hcp (G2), Bowling Green Hcp and Sword Dancer Invitation.

After a third-place finish behind Manila and Sharrood in the Arlington Million, Theatrical returned to New York to add the Turf Classic and Man o’ War Stakes prior to the Breeders’ Cup.

“Theatrical had the single biggest effect on my life as far as any horse,” Mott said this week.  He was my first Breeders’ Cup winner and then he’s turned out to be a very, very productive stallion.  I was fortunate enough to wind up with a couple breeding rights in him and train a lot of his sons and daughters.”

Theatrical began his stud career at Paulson’s Brookside Farm and in 2001 he was moved to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm.  He has sired 81 stakes winners, among them Japanese champion Hishi Amazon, Irish champion colt Zagreb, Irish champion filly Theoretically and French classic winner Madeleine’s Dream.  He was also the sire of top North American millionaires Royal Anthem, Geri, Astra, Shakespheare and Mrs. Lindsay.

He also sired 2002 Melbourne Cup (G1) winner Media Puzzle.  His only sire son in Australia is G1 winner Startac who stands at Westbury Farm in WA.