Louis Quatorze, the only classic winner standing at stud in Maryland in 2017, collapsed and died the afternoon of Feb. 17 while galloping across his paddock at Audrey Murray’s Murmur Farm in Darlington, Md. The 1996 Preakness winner was 24.
“He was a big, healthy thing,” said Murray. “Just that morning as I watched him from my window I thought ‘God he just looks so good.’ It was quite a shock.”
Louis Quatorze stood at Murmur Farm since the 2004 breeding season. He entered stud and stood six seasons at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, as well as shuttling to Argentina those early years, before being purchased by Audrey and her late husband Allen in 2003 and being resyndicated. “He was fully syndicated,” said Murray. “We could have probably sold twice as many shares. The interest was unbelievable.”
Multiple Grade 1-placed at 2 and third-highest weighted male on the Experimental Free Handicap of 1995, Louis Quatorze got his first stakes win in the Preakness, defeating Skip Away and Editor’s Note while leading at every call. Guided by Pat Day for owners Georgia Hoffman, William Condren and Joseph Cornacchia, the son of Sovereign Dancer won by three and a quarter lengths and equaled the stakes record of 1:53 2/5 for the mile and three-sixteenths. Later that summer he won Saratoga’s Jim Dandy Stakes-G2, was second in the Travers Stakes-G1 and third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup-G1, and ended the year in one of the most exciting Breeder’ Cup Classic-G1 runnings in history, finishing second in a three-way photo with winner Alphabet Soup and defending champion Cigar.
Louis Quatorze was an easy winner of both his starts at 4, the Grade 3 Creme Fraiche at Gulfstream and Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland (the latter by 13 lengths), until an injury forced his retirement. From 18 starts, he won seven times, was second in five and third once and earned $2,054,434.
At stud, Louis Quatorze has sired 39 stakes winners, topped by millionaires Repent and Choctaw Nation, top 3-year-old filly Bushfire, and Ribo Bobo, the leading runner by wins in the U.S. in 2013 after scoring 10 times in 11 starts (three in stakes company). From 16 crops to race, he has sired more than 560 winners (nearly 75 percent from starters) and the earners of more than $36 million. He was named Maryland Stallion of the Year in 2005 and has annually ranked among the top-10 Maryland stallions on the general and lifetime sires lists since moving to the state.
Out of graded winner On to Royalty (by On to Glory), Louis Quatorze was a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Royal Indy from the family of millionaire sprinter J J’sdream and Grade 1 winners Awesome Gem and Wildcat Heir, among others.
Louis Quatorze bred seven mares in 2016 and all got in foal: the first is due in early March and the final in early June. Murray noted he had mares booked to him for this year.
“He was such a majestic horse,” said Murray. “We’d bring him out and show him to people and he would just stand up there like he was regal. He knew he won the Preakness.”
Louis Quatorze was buried on the farm.