Damascus - Gonfalon, by Francis S. | 1983 Horse -
Greatest son of Damascus and leading broodmare sire
Obit Press Release:
MARCH 15, 2015 - Ogygian, the oldest pensioner at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, KY, was euthanized Saturday, March 14, due to complications from colic. The son of the great Damascus was 32.
The Florida-bred Ogygian was the last of Old Friends’s trio of flagship stallions that were returned to the United States from Japan in the early days of the organization. These include Sunshine Forever, who passed away in 2014, and Creator, who succumbed to colic on February 28 of this year.
Ogygian was repatriated in 2005 along with Breeders’ Cup Champion Fraise, courtesy of Fraise’s owner, Madeleine Paulson-Pickens.
Ogygian (Damascus – Gonfalon, Francis S) was considered one of the fastest runners of his generation. As a 2-year-old, he was unbeaten in three starts, including a stunning victory over champion sprinter Groovy in the 1985 Belmont Futurity (G1). As a 3-year old he vanquished the competition in the Riva Ridge Stakes, the Dwyer Stakes (G1) and Jerome Handicap (G1).
Trained by Jan Nerud, Ogygian won seven of his 10 starts and was undefeated in Grade 1 company. He retired with earnings of $455,520.
A homebred for Tartan Farms, Ogygian began his breeding career at Claiborne Farms in 1995 before relocating to East Stud in Japan. He sired 23 stakes winners, including such North American graded winners as D'Hallevant, Dice Dancer, Ramblin Guy, and Fly'n J Bryan.
A significant broodmare sire, he is the damsire of international juvenile champion Johannesburg, multiple Grade I winners Street Boss and Gygistar and multiple Grade II winner Friendly Island.
“When Ogygian first arrived, I received an unexpected phone call from turf writer Russ Harris,” said Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends. “He said to me, ‘I saw Secretariat and Seattle Slew and all the big races for several decades, and you, sir, have the greatest horse I ever laid eyes on.’ I couldn't agree more.
“We are honored that Ogygian allowed us to care for him for these past 10 years,” Blowen added. “He was one-of-a-kind.”
Ogygian has spent his life surrounded by legend. Named for the magical island where Odysseus lives for seven years with the goddess Calypso in Homer’s Odyssey, he is the greatest son of 16th ranked throroughbred of the twentieth century, Damascus.
Hailing from famous Tartan Farms, Ogygian was trained by Jan Nerud, son of Hall-of-Famer John Nerud, trainer of the great Dr. Fager. Ogygian was arguably the fastest runner of his generation. As a 2-year-old, he was unbeaten in three starts, including a stunning 9 1/2 length victory over champion sprinter Groovy in the 1985 Belmont Futurity (G1). As a 3-year old he vanquished the competition in the Riva Ridge Stakes, the Dwyer Stakes (G1) and Jerome Handicap (G1). As a stallion standing at Claiborne Farms, Ogygian sired 23 stakes winners and 11 graded stakes winners.
But it was as a broodmare sire that he made his mark as a stallion. He is the maternal grandfather of international 2 Year Old Champion Johannesburg and other top stakes earners. Like Sunshine Forever and Creator, Ogygian went to stud in Japan before being acquired by Old Friends through our associate at Narvick International, Megumi Igarashi. “He is hanging the charm against evil from his bridle,” Miss Igarashi informed us via email. “It’s violet, the holy color of Buddhism. Someone gave it to him a long time ago.” The lucky amulet brought this champion safely home in August of 2005.
Modified On: 4/2/2015
OGYGIAN -1983-2015's Info:
Bred in FL by Tartan Farms. Foaled March 17, 1983
10 Starts, 7 Wins, 1 Place, 1 Show. Career Earnings: $455,520
Racing Owner: Tartan Farms
Trainer: Jan Nerud
Regular Jockey: Walter Guerra
Biggest wins: Futurity (G1) at Belmont 1985, Dwyer (G1) at Belmont 1986, Jerome (G1) at Belmont 1986, Riva Ridge S at Belmont 1986
Other notable races: 3rd in the Pegasus H (G2) at the Meadowlands, 2nd in a sprint handicap at Aqueduct 1986
Won stakes at distances from 6 furlongs to 1 1/8 mile
Entered stud 1988 at Claiborne Farm, KY. Relocated 1995 to East Stud in Japan. Retired 2005
Sired 23 stakes winners and has proven a significant broodmare sire. 2001 Juvenile Champion Johannesburg is out of his daughter, Myth. Also damsire of G1 winners Gygistar, Friendly Island, Street Boss, and other stakes winners
Joined Old Friends August 2005