Day At The Track

Champion sire Falcon Seelster dead, age 30

06:55 PM 17 Sep 2011 NZST
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Falcon Seelster
Falcon Seelster
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The first time the late Wayne Francis laid eyes on Falcon Seelster, the fire-eater knocked him to the ground. But yesterday, when Nevele R Stud put the old horse down at the age of 30, it was with plenty of sadness and memories of one of New Zealand's greatest harness racing sires.

"He was a real character, but not a friendly horse," said Nevele R general manager Peter O'Rourke of the sire whose progeny earned more than $100 million on the racetrack, leaving champions like Elsu, McArdle and Shady Daisy, once the richest earning mare of all time.

O'Rourke recalled how the stud bought Falcon Seelster from the United States in 1995 when Castleton Farms closed down and when Francis travelled over to see their prize, the horse decked him.

"He put a few people in hospital in his career but not when we had him, we always treated him as if he was dangerous.

"We'd always have to use a pole on him," O'Rourke said. "If you tried to lead him around, he'd let you know."

Falcon Seelster still managed to get 32 foals from the 53 mares served in the 2009-10 season, but last winter was hard on him.

"He really struggled in the last few weeks - wanted to lie down for a rest - but it got to the stage where he couldn't get up and he started to lose condition."

O'Rourke said Falcon Seelster had been a dream servant - shuttling between here and the States before he became an EVA shedder in 1999 and was not allowed back until 2003.

"He was earning us a million dollars a year at that stage so that was pretty painful.

"But he was Nevele R's greatest horse on earnings. Only Holmes Hanover left more individual winners."

For the last month the stud had been home to three generations of the sireline with Falcon, his son McArdle and grandson Tintin In America the newest recruit.

Courtesy of Barry Lichter and The Sunday Star Times

Falcon Seelster North American stats as at September 18th 2011

869 Race Winner(s)

235 Winner(s) with $100,000+ earnings

67 Winner(s) with $250,000+ earnings

15 Winner(s) with $500,000+ earnings

8 Winner(s) with $750,000+ earnings

5 Winner(s) with $1,000,000+ earnings

727 With Best Time  2:00

518 With Best Time  1:57

311 With Best Time  1:55

137 With Best Time  1:53

8 With Best Time  1:50

$80,407,856 Total Earnings

$66,234 Average earning per eligible horse

$81,632 Average earning per starter

88.2% Starters with Records

81.1% Starter Foals of Racing Age  

Interesting to note that 3 of Falcon Seelsters richest performers (Top 10) were New Zealand breds ALLSTAR BLUE JEAN ($964,161; 1:48.4), FRANCO CATAPULT N ($676,206; 1:49.2) and OUR FIRST FALCON N ($649,928; 1:50.1).

Falcon Seelster's richest earner in New Zealand was ELSU $2,083.352 and his richest earner in Australia allthough NZ bred was THE FALCON STRIKE $1,224,094.

His fastest progeny on a mile track in North America were New Zealand breds Attorney General 1:48.2 and Allstar Blue Jean 1:48.4

Falcon Seelster Del. Ohio YOU BETTER GET UP NOW!

Just to put this in proper historical prespective- Falcon Seelster shattered the World Record by 2 and 3/5 seconds on this day. When Secretariat, the greatest racehorse ever, won the Belmont Stakes by 32 lengths, he shattered the World Record by 2 and 3/5 seconds as well. Not to mention making the rest of the Belmont field look like 6,000 claimers from Scioto Downs.

Falcon Seelster has sired the winners of over $100,000,000 far outpacing both Nihilator and Forrest Skipper.

Tom Harmer interviewed by Stan Bergstein after Falcon Seelster wins a division of the Levy at Yonkers in 1986 

1985 Provincial Cup - Windsor Raceway 

Falcon Seelster 2010 

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