Arazi – who produced arguably the most sensational victory by a two-year-old in racing history at the 1991 Breeders’ Cup – has died at the age of 32.
Trained by Francois Boutin for Allen Paulson, who later sold a 50 per cent share to Sheikh Mohammed, Arazi’s performance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs is still revered to this day.
Ridden by Pat Valenzuela, the flashy Blushing Groom colt was towards the rear and almost 15 lengths off the lead before a jaw-dropping mid-race move saw him weave between horses and stroll past big rival Bertrando – with commentator Tom Durkin famously remarking in almost disbelief “and Arazi runs right by him!”, adding “here indeed is a superstar!”.
An emphatic five lengths was the official winning margin from Bertrando, as Arazi completed a juvenile season almost without parallel, winning all seven outings which included three more Group One victories.
Bertrando would win the Breeders’ Cup Classic as a four-year-old, although Arazi ultimately did not go on to reach the same heights.
His Kentucky Derby bid saw him finish eighth to Lil E.Tee, after which he was fifth to Brief Truce in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. He did win the Group Two Prix du Rond Pont, but ended his career when unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
After spells at stud in Britain, America and Japan, together with one season in Switzerland, his latter years were spent at Stockwell Stud in Melbourne.
Announcing Arazi’s death in Australia, Stockwell said in a statement: “It is with immense sadness that Stockwell Thoroughbreds announce the passing of one of the racing world’s most revered champions, Arazi, at the grand age of 32 years.
“The little chestnut with a crooked blaze that made him almost instantly recognisable, captured the minds of racing people around the globe, when in 1991 he produced one of the most memorable performances seen on a racetrack in coming from last to take out the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by an easing five-length margin.
“Farewell to our mate – you were indeed a superstar.”
Stockwell’s Mike Becker said: “It has been an honour never lost on us to have been guardians to such a beloved horse.
“He had major bowel surgery as a four-year-old and has lived with a major heart murmur for the past 16 years, but in the end it was his body that gave out, not his big heart. He will be very missed around here.”