Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ferdinand - Heather Road, by The Axe II

Obit Press Release:
Bull Inthe Heather Dies at Old Friends
1993 Florida Derby winner Bull Inthe Heather was euthanized April 5 at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Kentucky. The 24 year old stallion had been receiving intensive treatment from Dr. Bryan Waldridge and Dr. Bryan Fraley for a combination of issues, but over the last week his quality of life and prospects of recovery diminished.

Bull Inthe Heather was sired by 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand out of Heather Road by The Axe II. Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and John Franks and raced as a two- and three-year old by Arthur I. Klein, he was trained by Howard M. Tesher. The tall roan colt finished second in the 1993 Fountain of Youth Stakes but went off as a 29.40 longshot in the Florida Derby (G1). Wigberto Ramos steered him through at the rail to hand favorite Storm Tower his first defeat. Off a near-win in Hialeah’s Flamingo Stakes, Bull Inthe Heather started as second favorite at 5.20 in the 1993 Kentucky Derby and competed in the Belmont Stakes, won by Sea Hero and Colonial Affair respectively.

In 1994 Bull Inthe Heather was acquired by Craig B. Singer and partners. He remained in Tesher’s barn and hit the board numerous times in 1994 and 1995, including a second in the 1994 Governor’s Day Handicap at Sam Houston Race Park. His career earnings totaled $508,338.

Owned by Charles E. Robinson, Bull Inthe Heather stood at Leckbee Thoroughbred Farm near Onalaska, Washington from 1997 through 2001, and at Loren and Nancy Bolinger’s Running Horse Farm near Albuquerque, New Mexico from 2002 through 2005. His progeny earned $1,031,298 and included stakes winning mares Bullishdemands and Ogygian’s Rose.

Bull Inthe Heather was retired to Old Friends in 2006. As the best son of Ferdinand, whose death in an overseas slaughterhouse aroused the groundswell of support that enabled Old Friends’ formation, Bull Inthe Heather played an important role in the organization’s public education efforts. In 2012 he inspired a Breyer benefit model horse. The “Hops and Horses” event to benefit Old Friends on April 10 will feature a glass honoring Bull Inthe Heather, sponsored by Southern States, with artwork by Anjelica Huston. Bull Inthe Heather, like many horses, was fond of beer.

President and Founder Michael Blowen said, "He was probably the toughest horse at Old Friends and yet he was kind and loved to have his back rubbed.  Because he had a rough time the last few months, he was a staff favorite and we will miss him very much.”

Read the DRF article on Bull's passing by clicking here.

His name may look like a typographical error, but there is no mistaking his heritage. Bull Inthe Heather is the greatest son of Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner whose death in a slaughterhouse in 2001 helped drive the formation of Old Friends. 

Bull, like Riva Way, was not destined to the greatness his genes might imply. In 1993, having lost 5 out of 6 starts, the cool gray could hardly see the top of his 3-year-old division. But then, as they say, the thoroughbred got his blood up and at 29-1 he bulldozed the competition—including the undefeated Storm Tower–and captured the G1 Florida Derby at a muddy Gulfstream Park. Suddenly, the railbirds were buzzing. Could he follow in his sire’s footsteps and take the Kentucky Derby? Despite a game effort, Bull lost the Derby that year to Sea Hero. Still, what he lost in glory he made up for in guts. He raced for three additional seasons, was on the board 11 times, and earned a respectable $508,338.

Retired to stud in 1997, Bull Inthe Heather originally stood at Leckbee Thoroughbred Farm near Onalaska, WA. In 2001 the G1 winner was relocated to Running Horse Farm near Albuquerque, NM, where he stood until coming to Old Friends in 2006. Among his runners is the stakes-winning mare Bullishdemands.

In 2012 Bull inspired Breyer Horses to use his image as their benefit model horse. 

Bred in KY by Claiborne Farm & John Franks. Foaled March 22, 1990
33 Starts, 3 Wins, 10 Places, 3 Shows. Career Earnings: $508,338

Racing Owners: Brunetti, Frankel & Singer
Trainer: Howard M. Tesher
Jockeys: W. S. Ramos, Jorge Chavez, others

Biggest win: Florida Derby (G1) 1993
Other important races: Ran in the Kentucky Derby 1993, 2nd in the Fountain of Youth (G2) 1993

Other interesting facts: Bull lost the Derby to Polish Navy's son Sea Hero, as did Old Friends cohort Wallenda. He also inspired a song in 1994, Sonic Youth's "Bull in the Heather" Joined Old Friends 2006.


Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Photo by Equisport Photos
Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Photo © equisportphotos.com
Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Photo © Equisport Photos
Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Photo © Equisport Photos
Bull photo © Carol Ayers Bull photo © Carol Ayers
Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Photo by Dr. John
Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Michael gives Bull a back scratch. Equisport Photos
Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Flashpoint
Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Photo © Equisportphotos.com
Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Bull's favorite thing...a mouth full of apple.
Bull Inthe Heather Bull Inthe Heather - Bull under breezy clouds. Photo by Beth Shannon