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Breeders' Cup Mile Winner War Chant Dies at 27

The 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T) hero died in Australia.

War Chant

War Chant

Courtesy Yarradale Stud

War Chant, a longstanding resident at Yarradale Stud in Australia, died at age 27 April 11.

The son of Danzig, who called the Gidgegannup nursery home for more than a decade, began stud duties at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky. He was owned at the time by Robert Clay, and his shuttling career took him to Chile and Western Australia.

In 2011, after prolonged negotiations, the late Ron Sayers managed to secure the Southern Hemisphere breeding rights for War Chant for the next three years, and, in 2014, War Chant relocated permanently to Western Australia.

He is the sire of 46 individual stakes winners, with 12 of them coming in Australia, including 2017 William Reid Stakes (G1) winner Silent Sedition—one of the stallion's three global top-flight winners.

In his later years, War Chant had been used to educate young staff in the breeding barn. His professional manner when covering mares meant that he was the perfect teacher for the younger generation who were keen to perfect their handling skills.

"He had the three Ps—performance, pedigree, and physique," said Yarradale stud manager Davy Hanratty.

"His movie star good looks hit you first. He was a quirky devil at times but taught me to be a better horseman. We are very lucky he has built a terrific reputation as a broodmare sire, and, rest assured, we haven't seen the last of his name in the record books."

War Chant was bred in Kentucky by Marjorie and Irving Cowan, who raced him with trainer Neil Drysdale. War Chant won his first three starts, all on dirt, including the San Rafael Sakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park, but he reached new heights when Drysdale switched him to turf after a ninth-place finish in the 2000 Kentucky Derby (G1).

War Chant won the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile Stakes (G2T) at Santa Anita in his turf debut, and next was victorious in a thrilling edition of the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T) at Churchill Downs, which he won by a neck and two noses from North East Bound, Dansili, and Affirmed Success.

War Chant wins the Breeders' Cup Mile, 2000
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
War Chant wins the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs

War Chant retired a winner of five of seven starts, undefeated on turf, with earnings of $1,130,600. His initial stud fee was $75,000 at Three Chimneys in 2001. His top progeny in America included 2010 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G2T) winner Chamberlain Bridge, who won 19 of 53 career starts and earned $1,953,016.

Out of multiple grade 1-winning mare Hollywood Wildcat, War Chant was a half brother to group 2 winner Ivan Denisovich, while he counted stakes winners Ministers Wild Cat and Double Cat among his half siblings.