American Winner passes at age 28
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American Winner, the 1993 Hambletonian champion and one of the breed's most influential sires through his son Credit Winner and Muscle Hill, a son of his daughter Yankee Blondie, died Friday morning (July 13) at age 28 at owner Robert Key's Winning Key Farm in Pennsylvania.
American Winner was bred by Key and John Glesmann and the two campaigned the son of Super Bowl and their mare BJ's Pleasure, later to be proven a great matron. They had very modest success with the colt when he was 2 years old, but at age three American Winner became a force on the track.
Trained by Milton Smith as a 3 year old, American Winner took an eight-race winning streak to the Meadowlands for the Beacon Course and Hambletonian. He won his Beacon Course elim and finished second to Pine Chip in the final. On Hambletonian day he won his elimination and then turned in an easy victory over Pine Chip in the final heat for driver Ron Pierce.
American Winner went on to capture the Zweig at Syracuse but battled soundness problems the rest of the season, although he showed his fighting spirit by finishing second in heats of the Kentucky Futurity and third in the Breeders Crown final. He finished up his sophomore season, and racing career, with 16 wins in 27 starts, $1,302,451 in earnings, and a lifetime mark of 1:52.3.
As a sire, American Winner's offspring earned $24 million, with his last foal born in 2015. In North America, his son Credit Winner has carried on his line in strong fashion while he has also had a strong European influence through his son Viking Kronos.
American Winner has had significant success as a broodmare sire with his daughters producing the great Muscle Hill plus the accomplished trotters Sand Vic, Maven, Define The World, Break The Bank K and Classic Photo. His daughters have produced the winners of $63.1 million in North America alone.