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Dead Solid Perfect, known as Rush, turned 39 on New Years Day
By Byron King of Bloodhorse.com
The owner of one particular horse had a little more reason to celebrate the passage of time each year on New Year’s Day, the universal birth date of thoroughbreds in the northern hemisphere.
Dead Solid Perfect, known as “Rush”, didn’t turn 15, 20, or even 25. He was 39 and still enjoying life, according to his owner.
Even if we count his age on the date of his foaling – May 4, 1983 – he was 38 years old and 242 days old on Saturday, making him one of the oldest thoroughbreds in North America, otherwise the oldest.
While the Jockey Club, the industry’s breed registry, keeps track of a lot of stats, the oldest thoroughbred isn’t one, said Shannon Luce, TJC’s director of communications. Accurate tracking of this data would be problematic, as TJC requires obituaries from each owner.
So age records are kept by word of mouth, the news, the internet and that old watch – Guinness World Records. Guinness World Records states that the oldest thoroughbred, Tango Duke (born 1935), owned by Carmen J. Koper of Barongarook, Victoria, Australia, turned 42 before dying on January 25, 1978.
The approximate life expectancy of a thoroughbred is 25 to 28 years, according to various internet resources.
More recently, Prospect Point was the subject of coverage just over five years ago due to his advanced age, with speculation that he held the record for the oldest thoroughbred in North America. He finally succumbed at 38 years and 203 days on September 23, 2016. But, now, even he has been passed by Rush.
Only other breeds, some of which can live longer than Thoroughbreds, can apparently compete with Rush for longevity. “It’s a very rarefied stratosphere at this point,” said owner Bridget Eukers.
To put his age into context, Rush was born during US President Ronald Reagan’s first administration, was born the same year as Ferdinand, the Kentucky Derby winner in 1986, and was already seven years old when Equibase, the official record holder of the horse racing, was formed.
No race charts are available under the Equibase profile retroactively produced by Dead Solid Perfect, although Equibase lists their record of 1 for 16 and their earnings of $ 5,940.
He still survived the track where he made his last career debut for owner / trainer Louis Gallina in 1988: Rockingham Park, which closed in 2016.
The Jockey Club allowed another horse to be named Dead Solid Perfect in 2003, which happens from time to time, as the names can be reused if an older horse of the same name is removed from the race or breeding since. more than five years. Yet, as Eukers will tell you, there is only one Rush. Even in his old age, he still enjoys farm life at Windsor Hunt Stables in Connecticut.
Her health is good, she said, only occasionally struggling with seasonal allergies and mold sensitivity.
“He enjoyed the little snowfall we had last week; we loved him riding in it,” Eukers said in a pre-Christmas interview. “Someone left the door open, and I unfortunately didn’t notice it, and he noticed it before I did and had a blast rolling down the hill he’s not supposed to go to. He chatted. a lot of trouble and had a lot of fun. “
Eukers and Rush have a close bond; he is his only horse. Her parents bought the thoroughbred off-road, then trained by another owner in dressage when she was a child, and she started riding Rush when he was nine.
Competing in the equestrian and hunter divisions, the duo qualified for a number of events including the 1995 Children’s National Medal Final and the 1996 Connecticut Junior Medal Final. compete after a tendon injury the following year, Eukers said, although they continued to work in dressage and later, hiking until 2018, when he was 35.
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Dead Solid Perfect enjoying another equestrian discipline in his youth
“Yeah, I think about it, and it’s like he’s there for high school, for college, you know, for all of my other adventures in life,” Eukers said. “He’s been that great constant through everything.”
No longer ridden, he is now exercising – when not going out unbeknownst to his owner – with Eukers guiding him up and down a hill on the farm.
“Maintaining that strength and flexibility, I think has been an important part of his ability to continue living life the way he wants,” she said. “He can always go down and roll. He can always go up and down.
“But these are things that were very important to me, that he could keep doing this stuff. And frankly, most of my life is really built around taking care of him. You know, he eats four. times a day.”
For the past eight or nine years, Eukers has fed him a diet of organic alfalfa pellets, organic barley, and organic oats.
“I have so many people, when I start talking to them about the way they eat, they say to me, ‘You know, I would like to eat that well’ or ‘I have to eat that well,’ she said. Said. “I know my vet kinda came over in the morning and said, ‘You know, it’s a really good breakfast he has.” I think I could open up a little kitchen and make it work well enough. “
Granted, Rush doesn’t look as young as he once was. Classified as dark bay or brown horse, it retained a dark coat except for its feet before starting to turn gray around the age of 30. His face is now mostly white and his neck is reaching it.
Eukers speculates that Rush, bred by Preston Madden in Kentucky, might have a predisposition to go gray with one of the fathers distant from his pedigree being the Great Native Dancer, nicknamed the Gray Ghost. Rush Raise A Cup’s sire was classified as a bay mare, his dam Kame Yen a dark bay or brown mare.
Rush was a $ 60,000 purchase of yearlings by John Fort from Madden’s shipment to Keeneland’s September yearling sale in 1984.
Many years from the auction days, its personality still shines, according to its owner. He shares a paddock with another owner’s Quarter Horse, known as the “Cowboy,” whom Eukers calls “the youngster” at age 25. She calls the two “enemies”.
“Sometimes they get along really well, and sometimes they don’t get along very well at all – the latter mainly because Cowboy likes trying to steal food from Rush, and Rush doesn’t like it,” he said. she declared. “They’re having a few little fights over that sort of thing.”
Rush, of course, doesn’t hesitate to relieve his tired feet from time to time. He’ll sit his butt on things, sometimes with a comedic effect.
She recalled: “The real highlight was that someone left a trash can that was supposed to be for the barn. And it was behind him, and I hadn’t really thought about it. I was on the move. cleaning his stall, he was on the rails, and I heard him move a little.
“Then all of a sudden I heard that absolutely huge crackle, and I rushed outside, he was looking behind him, like, ‘Oh, oops. I did an oops.’ And behind him is this aluminum trash can that basically looks like a beer can that someone smashed into the forehead, except it’s the whole aluminum can, and that’s because he tried. to sit on it, and it was kind of a disaster. “
Who could blame the old man?
“I would say having a horse this age is really tough, but it’s also rewarding,” said Eukers.
“It’s just a lot of fun to see him continue to enjoy life, and that has really been my goal from the start. I want to make sure he’s enjoying life and that he’s happy to be doing it, and when he’s not, I’ll let him go. “
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