Star trotter SJ's Photo dies at 28 in Italy
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SJ's Photo, a fast, stakes-winning trotter who most notably was not eligible to compete in the top stakes the year they were won by American Winner and Pine Chip, has died in Italy. He was 28 years old.
Bred, owned and trained and mostly driven by David Wade, SJ's Photo was undefeated in 13 starts as a 2 year old, racing in Maryland stakes, before Wade tested the waters against open competition the following year. Although SJ's Photo was not eligible to the Hambletonian or Kentucky Futurity, he made a big name for himself by trotting to a 1:53.4 record in Lexington in a late-closer event. As an older horse he won the Nat Ray free-for-all on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands and competed in Europe in the Elitlopp and Oslo Grand Prix, but couldn't beat Copiad.
Although his pedigree was unfashionable—he was a son of Photo Maker (by Yankee Bambino) and out of a mare by Kawartha Mon Ami, SJ's Photo stood at stud in the U.S. and sired seven million-dollar winners, among them 2005 Hambletonian champion Vivid Photo, plus Corleone Kosmos, Lucky Jim, Classic Photo, Pegasus Spur, SJ's Caviar and In Focus. He was sold and exported to Italy in 2006.
He is considered one of the best stallions in Europe and spent the last decade at the Mariano stud in Italy, where he has occupied the stall previously belonging to the kidnapped Lemon Dra.