News

Grade 1 Winner Victor Cooley Gone at 29

GEORGETOWN, KY – JUNE 27, 2022 – Victor Cooley, Canada’s 1996 Champion Three-Year-Old Colt and Queen’s Plate winner, was euthanized today at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm based in Georgetown, KY, where he has been pensioned since 2014. The gelding was 29.

According to attending veterinarian Dr. Ashton Broman, Victor Cooley suffered an acute onset of neurological symptoms coupled with other pre-existing conditions.

Bred in Ontario by the Begg family’s Windways Farm, the son of Cool Victor out of Willow Flight, racked up numerous accolades in his six seasons on the track.

At three, he captured the prestigious GR1 Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, helping him earn the title of Canada’s Champion Three-Year-Old Colt. Racing under the silks of Windways Farm and conditioned by Mark Frostad and later Malcolm Pierce, Victor took the GR1 Vosburg at Belmont Park the following year as well as the GR2 Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Keeneland, where he equaled the track record.

The gelding earned a final win at Fairgrounds in 2000 and then retired from racing with 13 wins from 39 starts and career earnings of $1.320, 475.

He remained at Windways until the farm closed in 2014 and was then sent to Old Friends along with Windways’s other accomplished gelding, El Brujo.

“We bred him, foaled him, and broke him at our farm,” said Windways Jeff Begg, “Victor wasn’t an easy horse to deal with –he was really a handful, but he was our first big horse and really took us to a different level and took us everywhere,” Begg continued. “For such a quirky horse, nothing really phased him. He didn’t care, he took his form to any track he went to.”

“Victor was as tough a retiree as he was a racehorse,” said Old Friends’s President Michael Blowen. “In his racing days he didn’t leave anything on the track, and he didn’t leave anything on the table here, either. I wish all of the owners were like Jeff and his wife Annabel,” Blowen added. “They came two or three times a year to visit him, always with a bag of peppermints. They continued to care for him long passed his racing days.”

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