February 20, 2010 -- Proper Reality, the 25-year-old multiple graded stakes winner of $1,701,650, who had been retired at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility, was euthanized February 19 at Hagyard's Equine Medical in Lexington.
The sturdy bay son of In Reality out of Proper Princess won the Arkansas Derby, Illinois Derby, Metropolitan Handicap, Iselin Handicap, Southwest Stakes, Hot Springs Stakes and the Essex Handicap. He ran fourth to Winning Colors in the 1988 Kentucky Derby. Bred and owned by Mrs. James A. Winn, Proper Reality was retired at Bob Holthus Kilkerry Farm in Royal, AK until he was donated to Old Friends last summer by Holthus.
Jerry Bailey, who rode Proper Reality in 19 of his 20 starts, said that he was the horse that showed him he could ride in the major leagues when they teamed up to beat Angel Cordero, Jr. on Dancing Spree and Pat Day on Seeking the Gold in the 1989 Metropolitan Handicap. "I cannot say he was the best horse in the country in 1989," wrote Bailey in his autobiography, Against the Odds, but "I am sure he fought harder than anyone else."
"At about 7:30 this morning, during feeding time, Bill Van Den Dool noticed that he was acting like he had colic," said Michael Blowen, President of Old Friends. "After treatment by our barn manager Kent Ralstin and Dr. Mixon, the decision was made to bring him to the clinic where an ultrasound revealed that his chances of living out the rest of his life with dignity were severely compromised."
'"He is in more pain than you or I could ever conceive of," said Hagyard's Dr. Kim Sprayberry. "And he's handling it with absolute class."
"He will be really missed," added Blowen. "He was in a front paddock and was always first to greet our visitors." A memorial service will be held in the spring at Old Friends' Dream Chase Farm in Georgetown, Ky.
Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that is home to over 90 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, Ky., is open to tourists daily by appointment. For more information on the farm, visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.