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Flanders (ch m 1992 – 2010, by Seeking the Gold x Starlet Storm, by Storm Bird)

Paulick Report announced that champion Flanders had been euthanized last month as the result of a paddock accident at Ashford Stud. John Magnier had purchased Flanders at the Overbrook dispersal at the 2009 Keeneland November sale for $400,000. The mare produced a colt by classic winner Bernardini last month, and he has been placed on a nurse mare.

The lovely chestnut mare was from the second crop by the Mr. Prospector stallion Seeking the Gold, and his second top-class daughter helped to cement Seeking the Gold as a top-tier sire from the start.

Flanders was moderately atypical of the Seeking the Gold stock because she was so good at 2, when she finished first in each of her five starts. The elegant chestnut was disqualified from her victory in the G1 Matron because she tested positive for isoxuprine, a medication that neither speeds up nor slows down horses.

The chestnut juvenile showed her ability from her debut at Saratoga, then came back to win the Spinaway, Matron, and Frizette before facing her stiffest challenge in the BC Juvenile Fillies against Serena’s Song. Flanders prevailed by a short head after a ding-dong battle with her powerful rival for most of the race.

As jockey Pat Day galloped Flanders around the turn at Churchill Downs, however, he noticed the filly was off on her left fore and unsaddled on the backside. The filly was taken off the track in an ambulance and never raced again.

That is especially unfortunate because Flanders’s virtually identical form with Serena’s Song indicated that they were notably superior to their generation of fillies, and Serena’s Song also defeated colts in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship at 2, in the Jim Beam and Haskell as a 3yo, and ran second in the Whitney at 4.

And while Serena’s Song was really best suited to eight and nine furlongs, there was every indication on pedigree that Flanders might even improve at somewhat longer distances. By Seeking the Gold out of a Storm Bird mare, Flanders had a truly classic pedigree, and physically she was shaped like a classic star.

Lengthy and well-balanced, Flanders had such an excellent stride that she excited comment even in her debut, and she also possessed the ability to quicken nimbly late in a race to put away a rival. With a stride that gave her outstanding pace and a good turn of foot, Flanders was a nearly ideal prospect for classics at 10 furlongs.

Her first foal, the top-class Surfside (by Seattle Slew), gave an indication of her dam’s classic scope with four victories at G1 level (Frizette, Hollywood Starlet, Las Virgenes, and Santa Anita Oaks), and there is surely more excellence to come from this family.

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