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Winchester: the Dermot Weld-trained winner of the Secretariat Stakes is one of 22 Group/Grade 1 winners by Theatrical

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris 

Theatrical retired from stud duty in Kentucky

THEATRICAL, runner-up in the 1985 Irish Derby and one of the leading US-based turf sires, has been retired from stud duty.
The 27-year-old son of Nureyev stood the past season at John Sikura's Hill ‘n' Dale Farm in Kentucky for $35,000.

"Due to the infirmities of old age coupled with declining fertility, the proper thing to do is to retire Theatrical from stud duty," said Sikura in a press release. "Our success is based on how we care for these magnificent animals, so what's best for them always comes first. Theatrical will live out his retirement years at Hill 'n' Dale. It was an honor to stand such an important stallion of the American turf for the Paulson family whose influence is likely to live on through many generations to come."

From 19 crops of racing age, Theatrical has sired 22 Group/Grade 1 winners and 14 millionaires. Although he spent the entirety of his stud career in Kentucky, the stallion enjoyed much of his success in Europe, especially with progeny trained by Dermot Weld.

It was under Weld's care that Theatrical ran second in the Irish Derby, and the trainer went on to handle many of the stallion's best runners including Zagreb, who went one better than his sire when running away with the 1996 renewal of the Irish Derby, Melbourne Cup hero Media Puzzle and last season's Secretariat Stakes winner Winchester.

Other notable European performers by the stallion include Royal Anthem, who won the Juddmonte International by eight lengths, Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Madeleine's Dream and Prix Vermeille heroine Mrs Lindsay.

Theatrical's best US-trained runners include Geri, Shakespeare, Astra and Startac while he was also the sire of a Japanese champion in Hishi Amazon.

Group/Grade 1 winners by Theatrical

 Name  Year born
 Notable race won
 Dahlia's Dreamer  1989  Flower Bowl Invitational H'cap
 Golden Treat  1989  Santa Anita Oaks
 Madeleine's Dream  1990  Poule d'Essai des Pouliches
 Marchand de Sable  1990  Criterium de Saint-Cloud
 Broadway Flyer  1991  Sword Dancer Invitational S.
 Duda  1991  Matriarch Stakes
 Hishi Amazon  1991  QE11 Commemorative Cup
 Pharma  1991  Santa Ana Handicap
 Vaudeville  1991   Secretariat Stakes
 Geri  1992  Oaklawn Handicap
 Zagreb  1993  Irish Derby
 Portland Player  1993  Victoria Derby
 Auntie Mame  1994  Flower Bowl Invitational H'cap
 Royal Anthem  1995  Juddmonte International
 Run Man Run  1995  Malibu Stakes
 Astra  1996  Gamely Breeders' Cup H'cap
 Media Puzzle  1997  Melbourne Cup
 Startac  1998  Secretariat Stakes
 Shakespeare  2001  Woodbine Mile
 Mrs Lindsay  2004  Prix Vermeille
 Winchester  2005  Secretariat Stakes

Bred by Bert and Diana Firestone out of the Sassafras mare Tree Of Knowledge, Theatrical won the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes in Ireland before switching to Bill Mott's barn in the US. There he became an outstanding performer, capturing six Grade 1 races for the Firestones and Allen Paulson including the 1987 Breeders' Cup Turf from Trempolino.

Following that season, he received an Eclipse Award as leading turf male.

Theatrical retired to Paulson's Brookdale Farm in Kentucky in 1988 as the winner of ten of 22 starts and nearly $3m in prize-money. He was transferred to Hill ‘n' Dale Farm in 2001.

Theatrical's sons have been largely disappointing at stud with the exception of the recently deceased Marchand de Sable, whose progeny includes Marchard d'Or. However, Theatrcial is now emerging as a notable broodmare sire with his daughters producing the likes of English Channel, Rail Link and Lord Shanakill.




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