Classic winner Mister Baileys, a courageous racehorse and international traveler, has died at 18 due to the continuing effects of grass sickness, which he contracted before ever going to stud.
The brave bay horse was reportedly still coping with the long-term effects of grass sickness – only 33 percent of gut function and 40 percent of his liver working correctly, according to the Racing Post.
The horse’s rise to prominence began when Paul Venner, the managing director of Baileys Horse Feeds, purchased the striking bay son of Robellino for 10,500 guineas as a yearling and sent him to trainer Mark Johnston, who trained Mister Baileys to win the Champagne and the Royal Lodge Stakes at 2.
Mister Baileys made his 3yo debut in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and in winning set a course record for the classic that still stands. After a mid-year retirement to the National Stud, which had purchased half of the horse, Mister Baileys was stricken with grass sickness before ever covering a mare.
An illness picked up from toxins in grass, grass sickness typically creates neurological problems and gut failure that precipitate death, and it is the malady that killed Dubai Millennium, among others. Whether chance or a rugged constitution saved Mister Baileys, he survived the initial damage of the grass toxins. Then careful nursing, that included a regular bucket of beer, brought the gutsy animal around.
The National Stud, which had insured the horse against loss, filed its claim, and the insurers eventually sold Mister Baileys to stand at Vinery in Kentucky. He shipped to Kentucky in October 1995 and entered stud in 1996, nearly two years after his classic victory.
From his innings in Kentucky, the best produce of Mister Baileys was probably the shockingly tough America America, who won or placed in stakes in the States, Germany, Canada, and England as a 2yo in 2003. Winner of the Lone Star Oaks at 3, America America is out of the Mining mare Gal of Mine.
Mister Baileys was returned to England in 2000 and went to stand at Whitsbury Stud. Although sub-fertile, he continued to cover mares until 2003 when he pronounced infertile and pensioned to Venner’s Petches Stud.
Bred in England by Ranston Bloodstock Ltd, Mister Baileys was by the Roberto stallion Robellino out of the Sharpen Up mare Thimblerigger.