Valley Victory, the breed-shaping sire who changed the face of trotting in North America, was euthanized Friday morning after complications from what appeared to be kidney failure, according to Art Zubrod, manager of Brittany Farms and the Valley Victory Syndicate.
The 25-year-old stallion by Baltic Speed-Valley Victoria had been at the Hagyard-Davidson-McGee equine care facility in Lexington for the past three days after showing signs of distress. "He had showed a little improvement after the first day there, but started going downhill quickly after that, and the decision was made to euthanize him. You certainly don't want to see any horse suffer unnecessarily, and the time had come," Zubrod said.
Valley Victory had stood at Walnut Hall Ltd. in Lexington since 2001 and was pensioned there in recent years, following an illustrious career as a racehorse and sire.
Bred by Bill Weaver's Valley High Stable, Valley Victory was owned during his racing career by Arlene Traub and trained by Steve Elliott. He won the Breeders Crown as a 2 year old and the Yonkers Trot at 3, and was syndicated at the conclusion of his sophomore campaign by George Segal and Tony Pedone and sent to stud duty at Southwind Farms in Pennington, N.J. in 1990.
He proved to be a great sire from the onset of his career, as his first crop, which raced in 1993, made him North America's leading sire of 2-year-old trotters that season, with nearly $1.7-million in earnings.
His first four crops would include three Hambletonian winners--Victory Dream, Continentalvictory and Muscles Yankee--but fertility issues diminished his foal production early in his stud career, and even more so as time progressed. By 2001, his crop size had dropped to only five foals.
"Valley Victory passed on terrific qualities to his youngsters," Zubrod said. "He produced horses that had a low head carriage, with long, fluid gaits, and they possessed a tremendous desire to race. They could overcome a lot in terms of training. A trainer could make a mistake with a Valley Victory colt and the colt would just seem to forget it, and look the other way. Most all had a very calm demeanor. Whatever you asked them to do, it didn't seem to be a problem for them," he added.
Perhaps even more than siring great racehorses, Valley Victory will best be remembered as a sire who carried the great Speedy Crown line into a whole new era of prominence in furthering the trotting breed.
His progeny, with $35 million in total earnings, includes the successful sires Muscles Yankee, Yankee Glide, Donerail and Lindy Lane, while daughters of Valley Victory on their own have produced six millionaires and the winners of over $53 million.