Louis Quatorze surged away from Skip Away to win the 1996 Preakness Stakes under Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day. (Video courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club)
While Louis Quatorze had finished 16th in the 1996 Kentucky Derby, it turned out that the colt was just saving his best performance for his next race.
Pat Day took over from Chris Antley for the 1996 Preakness Stakes, and the jockey change seemed to be a good match as Louis Quatorze led from start to finish in the 1 3/16-mile race, running the third-fastest Preakness in the history of the event.
The pair finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes three weeks later, but after a few months off Louis Quatorze and Day beat Will’s Way by a neck in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Even more impressive than the win was the fact that the third-place horse finished 15 lengths behind the pair.
Will’s Way got the last laugh in the Travers Stakes, beating Louis Quatorze by three-quarters of a length. Lurking in the background of this win, just a length behind the pair, was Skip Away. Louis Quatorze had faced the future Horse of the Year in the past, losing to him in the Blue Grass Stakes, but defeated him in the Preakness so the gray rising star was a familiar foe.
LOUIS QUATORZE WINNING PREAKNESS
Photo by Horsephotos.com
In an uncharacteristic finish, worst of his career, Louis Quatorze finished last when he faced Skip Away again a few weeks later in the Grade 1 Woodbine Million Stakes. He ran into both that monster and another one in the form of Cigar in the Jockey Club Gold Cup the next month, and while he did not win, Louis Quatorze proved that his previous dismal finish was an anomaly as he finished third, two lengths behind arguably the two best horses in training at the time.
Skip Away skipped the Breeders’ Cup Classic that year, taking some of the excitement away in the days leading up to the race, but Classic itself more than made up for it. In an epic finish, Louis Quatorze finished only a nose behind Alphabet Soup with Cigar a head back in third.
While Louis Quatorze was one of the top 3-year-olds of the year, he didn’t win the championship. That honor went to to Skip Away.
Louis Quatorze returned to the races in March of the following year, winning the Crème Fraiche Handicap by 4 ¼ lengths and the Ben Ali Stakes by 13 lengths.
|Photo by Horsephotos.com|
While it wasn’t expected to be his swan song, the brilliant Ben Ali performance was a fitting ending for Louis Quatorze’s career.
Louis Quatorze won seven of 18 starts for $2,054,434. He finished in the top three in six other graded stakes races and was fourth in the Belmont Stakes. The list of horses Louis Quatorze beat includes Skip Away, Cigar, Editor’s Note, Maria’s Mon, and Formal Gold.
Louis Quatorze retired to Ashford Stud and stood his first season in 1998. His first crop yielded multiple Grade 2 winner Repent, and in the following few years he sired two foreign champions in addition to fan favorite Choctaw Nation and multiple Grade 1 winner Bushfire.
In late 2003, Louis Quatorze was sold to Murmur Farm in Maryland.
While the number of mares visiting his court is smaller than it was in Kentucky, the stallion has proved he still is capable of siring a quality racehorse. Multiple stakes winner Ribo Bobo is from his 2008 crop, and through March 20 Louis Quatorze ranks fourth on the Maryland sire list.
At 21 years of age, Louis Quatorze still has a presence about him that Murmur Farm owner Audrey Murray says he shows every time he comes out of his stall.
“His temperament is great,” she said. “He’s still very regal when I bring him out to show him to clients, and he looks great for his age and his temperament is super.”
Murmur Farm welcomes inquiries and visits from fans.
To learn more about Louis Quatorze and Murmur Farm, you can visit its website.