PROPER REALITY 1985 - 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

                              photo by Rick Capone

In Reality - Proper Princess - Nodouble              Dkb/br horse

From Michael...
The sun'll come out tomorrow (we hope)... The recent passing of Proper Reality cast an unfortunate pall over the farm because he was one of the kindest, sweetest residents we've ever had the pleasure of being around. The necropsy came back and Proper died of colon injuries suffered by several twists. After it was decided that surgery was not a viable option, they led Proper Reality out to a fluffy patch of snow under a grove of pine trees. His memory lives every day with us....Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division continues to prosper making more space for deserving retirees..I hope everyone will get a chance to visit sometime soon..After all, we're the only facility where you might experience the unique thrill of watching Gulch take on Commentator.

Press Release 2/19/10:
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 this morning at Hagyard's Equine Medical in Lexington. Michael Blowen, President of Old Friends, made the announcement this afternoon.

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 Mr. 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 Blowen. "After treatment by our barn manager Kent Ralstin and Dr. Mixon, the decision was made to bring him to the clinic where an ultra sound 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.

Trained by Bob Holthus, Proper Reality raced in the colors of James and Juanita Winn. He attracted notice when he broke his maiden first time out by 15 lengths at Louisiana Downs, but sore shins delayed his maturity as a race horse. Returning to the track at three, he accelerated from a win in the Southwest Stakes, to win the Arkansas Derby under a young jockey named Jerry Bailey. Bailey had ridden in the Kentucky Derby before, but now he had his first bona fide chance to win.

Proper Reality came in 4th to filly Winning Colors in the 1988 Derby—a good performance, but his connections thought he’d do better. X-rays revealed a very slight fracture in a cannon bone. The following month he won the Illinois Derby. He spent the rest of that season recovering from surgery for the fracture, but in 1989 he took a 2nd in the Pimlico Special, then tried the Met Mile at Belmont. Hooking up with Seeking the Gold and Dancing Spree, he contended in a breath-taking three-way duel for the finish. At the last moment, Proper Reality thrust his nose—that curved nose he inherited from his ancestor, Man O’War—in front. He re-injured his leg, and he was retired from racing.

He began his stud career at Claiborne Farm, but his wonderful pedigree with its crosses to Man O’War, Discovery and Bull Lea, was no longer fashionable. He was relocated to the southwest, and eventually to Kilkerry, the Arkansas farm of his former trainer, Bob Holthus. He covered small books of mares there and lived like a king. In 2007, Barbara Livingston visited him, where farm manager Carl Chapman told her, “He plays with all the babies we’re breaking on the racetrack…scares the devil out of them.” Livingston included a spectacular photo of Proper Reality running in More Old Friends.

Old Friends is grateful to the Holthuses for entrusting us with this magnificent, and kindly, equine athlete. 

b 1964
blk 1956
ch 1948
b 1947
ch 1957
b 1948
b 1947
dkbbr 1974
ch 1965
ch 1956
b 1955
b 1967
b 1958
ch 1957
Pedigree generated by

Bred in FL by Mrs. James A. Winn. Foaled Feb. 9, 1985

19 Starts, 10 Wins, 3 Places, 1 Show. Career Earnings: $1,701,650

Racing Owner: Mrs. James A. Winn
Trainer: Robert E. Holthus
Regular Jockey: Jerry Bailey

Biggest wins: Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park 1988, Met Mile (G1) at Belmont 1988, Iselin (G1) at Monmouth Park 1989, Illinois Derby (G2) at Sportsman's Park 1988, South West S at Oaklawn Park 1988, Thomas D. Nash Memorial H at Sportsman's Park 1988, Hot Springs S at Oaklawn Park 1989, Essex S at Oaklawn Park 1989

Other notable races: 4th (to Winning Colors) in the Kentucky Derby 1988, 2nd Bud Gold Cup (G2) at Hawthorne Park 1989, 2nd Michigan Mile at Detroit Race Course 1989, 2nd Pimlico Special 1989, 3rd Razor Back H at Oaklawn Park 1989

Versatile distance stakes wins from 6 furlongs to 1 1/8 mile
Joined Old Friends June 2009