Living with horses means living with extreme highs and lows. Even as we celebrate the bright young stars in a remarkably strong group of three-year-olds now racing, we’re saddened by the loss of our retirees, Catlaunch at our Georgetown Farm, and Tour of the Cat at our Kentucky Downs location.
Tour of the Cat, a son of Tour d’Or out of Tune in to the Cat (by Tunerup), was foaled May 3, 1998 in Florida and did much of his best racing there. Through his grandsire, Medaille d’Or, he was a great-grandson of Secretariat. He participated in the early stages of the 2001 Kentucky Derby trail with a second place finish in the Flamingo Stakes (G3) at Hialeah. His 10 stakes wins include the Miami Beach Handicap (G3) and Spend A Buck Handicap (G3) at Calder. When he needed to step down at age 11, Maggie Moss claimed him for retirement at Old Friends in 2009.
During his retirement, Tour of the Cat lived at our Georgetown farm, and most recently at Old Friends at Kentucky Downs, where he was a favorite with farm manager Jennifer Jones and his many visitors.
I’ll always remember Tour of the Cat as a proud guy with a mind of his own. He could be a bit fiery. These qualities carried him through his hard-knocking athletic career, but as he settled into retirement and maturity, he showed us how much kindness he also had. At all stages of his life, Tour of the Cat had heart. Up here in Georgetown and down in Franklin he will be missed by many.
How to say goodbye to Catlaunch? Frankly, I think all of us at the main farm, as well as his connections and friends, haven’t quite managed that yet. Because he lived for so long in the front paddock with Game On Dude, then during his battle with his neurological condition spent so much time in the barn area, where he continued to meet and greet his visitors with unfailing loving gentleness, he was a constant in our lives, a mainstay, an especially close family member. I’ve asked a few staff and volunteers who were special to Catlaunch to contribute a few words about him, which I hope to post next week.
Both of these horses are very much in our hearts.