Dead Solid Perfect senior thoroughbred dies at 39

The former Dead Solid Perfect racehorse, which this winter drew attention as perhaps the oldest living thoroughbred in the United States, died Nov. 8, according to longtime owner Bridget Eukers. He was 39 years old.

Eukers said Nov. 9 that his horse, known as “Rush” in his second career as an off-track thoroughbred, was healthy through the first half of 2022 before experiencing a few setbacks. He suffered a minor head injury from a fall this summer, watched his longtime paddock mate, 25-year-old Quarter Horse “Cowboy”, succumb to old age, and Rush battled a foot abscess earlier this fall. But he had made progress, Eukers said, before he was unable to get up on Tuesday morning apparently after a fall that left him in an awkward position, both in and out of his stall at a Connecticut horse stable. . He was euthanized.

“I knew we were coming to the end of the road, but I was hoping we had a little more time,” Eukers said.

Rush, born May 4, 1983, lived to be 39 years and 188 days, well beyond the average lifespan of a thoroughbred of 25 to 28 years, according to various internet resources. Although records are not kept for the oldest Thoroughbred by the Jockey Club, in part due to the difficulties of needing death notifications from every Thoroughbred horse owner, Rush is widely regarded as a record holder American.

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Prospect Point had been considered the American standard for the oldest Thoroughbred on record, living to be 38 years and 203 days before his death on September 23, 2016. There are reports of Thoroughbreds in other countries living in their forties, including a couple of Japanese Horses.

Other breeds generally live longer than Thoroughbreds.

Bred by Preston Madden in Kentucky, Dead Solid Perfect was a dark bay or brown horse by Raise a Cup and Olden Times mare Kame Yen. He turned gray late in life, with Eukers speculating that he had a predisposition to turn gray with one of the distant bulls in his pedigree being Native Dancer, nicknamed the Gray Ghost.

He was a $60,000 yearling purchase by John Fort from Madden’s consignment at Keeneland’s September yearling sale in 1984 and earned his only victory for Fort’s Peachtree Stable at The Meadowlands for the trainer Robert Klesaris and jockey Julie Krone in December 1986. The last of his 16 starts came for owner/trainer Louis Gallina at Rockingham Park in January 1988.

Years later, Euker’s parents purchased 9-year-old Rush for their then-teenage daughter. Together they competed in equestrian and hunt events, including the 1995 National Children’s Medal Final and the 1996 Connecticut Junior Medal Final. He retired from competition after an injury to the tendon the following year, Eukers said, although they continued to work in dressage and later trail running until 2018, when he was 35.

Photo: Courtesy of Bridget Eukers

Rush shows off his show jumping skills as a young horse

In his older years, Rush was no longer ridden, but Eukers – wanting to maintain his flexibility and conditioning – continued to hand-walk him up a hill at the farm where she boarded him at Windsor Hunt Stables in Connecticut. He ate an organic diet of alfalfa, barley and oat pellets for the last decade of his life.

Eukers said she wanted to make sure Rush had company after Cowboy’s death and made a free rental deal to ride a friend’s horse, the 15-year-old mare. Viv’s Diadem at Windsor Hunt Stables.

“When she came in, I think she decided Rush was a little colt,” Eukers recalled. “She would reach around the corner and tickle his ears. She would treat him like he was a little guy. And Rush would look at her like, ‘Hey ma’am, I’m 39.'”

At such an advanced age, he would continue to delight his owner with behavior more common in a younger horse.

“I had bought him a new door that was open all the way to the floor and had metal rungs on it,” she said. “He found he could lower his head and stick his ears along the metal bars, and you would kind of hear ‘Schwing. Schwing “. It must be his favorite way to wake me up in the morning.”

Dead Solid Perfect, 39, or
Photo: Barbara D. Livingston

Dead Solid Perfect in front of his barn

Eukers praised his vet, Dr Michael Stewart, for his care for Rush, which dates back to 1999. She said he suspended some veterinary duties on Tuesday morning to care for Rush when he was unable to stand . Eukers, his mother and Stewart worked for hours trying to help him, but the horse had gotten hot and was showing signs of exhaustion.

“He was half up, half down, half up, half down, and I just looked at Doc and said, ‘You know what, if this is the end of the road, if that’s where we ‘re at, that’s OK,’ she recalled. “Doc thought about it a bit and said, ‘I think we’ve run out of moves here.'”

She noted her horse’s vibrant spirit.

“One thing I’ve learned in my years with Thoroughbreds is that you can ask too much of them,” she said. “They will always try for you. They will always try their hearts.

“I started to worry that I was asking too much of him. So at that point we let him go. I talked to him, mom talked to him, Doc talked to him. We kind of got him. caressed, soothed and he fell asleep very peacefully.”

After 30 years with Rush, “Right now it feels like there’s a huge hole,” she said.

Eukers said her remains would be cremated and she would keep them when they were delivered from Connecticut Horse Cremation.

Viv’s tiara will be returned to its owner, and Eukers, whose only horse was Rush, plans to take some time to assess his equine plans. She plans to volunteer with an organization in Connecticut called Angel Horses, which works to provide homes for senior horses and offers horse-assisted activities.

“I was very lucky to have him,” Eukers said of Rush. “It was truly a partnership and something special and unique that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

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