where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2024-03-17 16:08:48  
4 time Gr1 winner dead

Improbable, the esteemed older-dirt male champion of 2020, renowned for his Grade 1 triumphs at ages 2 and 4 and residing at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., tragically passed away on Saturday evening at Rood & Riddle Equine in Lexington, Ky. He was undergoing treatment for the muscle disorder ataxia.

"He was taken to Rood & Riddle on Saturday morning to ascertain the exact cause of the ataxia," shared WinStar president Elliott Walden. "Though he was responding positively to treatment, he unfortunately fell awkwardly while lying down in his stall, resulting in a broken right tibia, which proved irreparable."

At 8 years old, Improbable was poised to debut his first sire crop on the racetrack this year.

Improbable made a splash in 2018, clinching victory in his initial three career races under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, notably securing the first of his four career Grade 1 triumphs in the Los Alamitos Futurity.

While his performance during his 3-year-old season paled in comparison to his earlier feats, with only the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar under his belt, he still managed a respectable fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Preakness in 2019.

However, his 4-year-old campaign was undeniably his pinnacle, with the City Zip colt achieving consecutive Grade 1 victories in the Santa Anita Gold Cup, Whitney, and Awesome Again, culminating in a runner-up position in his final outing to stablemate and eventual Horse of the Year, Authentic, in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.

Following his stellar champion older-male season, Improbable retired to WinStar, having amassed 7 victories out of 15 career starts and earning a lifetime total of $2,728,520.

"These horses are our livelihood, and we strive every day to provide them with the best care possible," expressed WinStar veterinarian Dr. Natanya Nieman. "The entire team is devastated. Improbable gifted us countless unforgettable moments, shared with our partners, our team, and the entire racing community. It's truly tragic."

Bred in Kentucky by St. George Farm and G. Watts Humphrey Jr., Improbable was purchased for $200,000 by Maverick Racing and China Horse Club from the Taylor Made Sales agency consignment at the 2017 Keeneland September sale. Improbable, sired by City Zip out of the A.P. Indy mare Rare Event, was bred to 329 mares in his initial two books and heralds his first crop of 2-year-olds this year.

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