Forty Niner, a member of the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, died Monday in Japan.
Shigeki Yusa, stallion affairs manager for the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association, reported the death on Twitter.
Forty Niner was 35.
“We are truly saddened to lose him and are grateful for all the support from his fans over the years,” Yusa wrote.
Bred and raced by Claiborne Farm, Forty Niner won 11 of his 19 races and earned $2,726,000.
He was North America’s champion 2-year-old male thoroughbred in 1987.
That year, Forty Niner captured the Grade I Futurity and Champagne stakes at Belmont Park in New York.
He also won two Grade II events, the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in New York and the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in Kentucky.
In 1988, races captured by Forty Niner included the Grade I Travers and Haskell Invitatioal stakes, which were run at Saratoga and Monmouth Park in New Jersey, respectively.
Among his other efforts were runner-up finishes Kentucky Derby, Woodward Handicap and Florida Derby, all of which were Grade I events.
Woody Stephens, a member of thoroughbred racing’s national Hall of Fame, trained Forty Niner, who spent time at the Aiken Training Track being prepared for racing when he was young.
Forty Niner began his career as a stallion at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky in 1989, and he later stood at the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association’s Shizunai Stallion Station.
As a sire, Forty Niner enjoyed success internationally.
The most accomplished racehorses among his offspring were Editor’s Note, Gold Fever, Coronado’s Quest, Ecton Park, Nine Keys, Marley Vale and Utopia.
Editor’s Note won the Grade I Belmont Stakes in 1996.
Distorted Humor, a son of Forty Niner, became a prominent sire in this country. Another son, Roar, was a top sire in Argentina.
The Aiken Thoroughbre Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is in Hopelands Gardens at 135 Dupree Place.