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Blog - LEGENDS

Lure wins the 1992 Breeders' Cup Mile in record time. (Photo by HorsePhotos)

The 1994 Breeders’ Cup Mile did not go as expected. A fantastic turf competitor, Lure was the odds-on favorite but his 25th and final career start was not the tour de force that so many hoped to see that November afternoon.

Lure lost. In fact he finished ninth of 14, as a 10.40-to-1 invader from Ireland, Barathea, ran off to win by three lengths on the Churchill Downs turf. But that final race was an anomaly in Lure’s Hall of Fame career — he won 14 races, including two Breeders’ Cup Miles, and finished second on eight other occasions in four years of racing.

Lure was a blue-blooded Claiborne Farm product — a Danzig colt out of the Grade 1-winning Alydar mare Endear. He was bred and raced by a partnership of the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm and William Haggin Perry’s The Gamely Corp. Born in the Kentucky bluegrass on May 14, 1989, Lure would prove to be special from the start.

Lure made his career debut in June of his 2-year-old season as the heavy favorite. All signs indicated trainer Shug McGaughey, a future Hall of Famer, had Lure ready to run, and the colt did not disappoint in delivering a 5-length victory while setting a 5-furlong track record at Belmont Park.

Lure also made his 3-year-old debut an impressive one, capturing an allowance race at Aqueduct while piloted for the first time by jockey Mike Smith. The duo then finished in a dead-heat with Devil His Due for the victory in the Gotham Stakes in preparation for the Kentucky Derby, but his connections decided against competing in the Triple Crown series after a second-place finish in the Lexington Stakes.

Already a graded stakes winner on dirt yet not quite living up to his pedigree, they elected to try the colt on the grass and Lure made his first turf appearance in his eighth career start. The gamble paid off for McGaughey and the Hancock/Perry partnership as the colt sprinted home a 10 ¼-length victor.

“Trying him on grass was a last resort,” McGaughey said when reflecting on Lure’s career in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Most [experiments] don't work. This did work.”

That might have been understated, as after one more race on the turf Lure headed south to Gulfstream Park where he blazed to a course record in winning the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Mile by 3 lengths.

1992 BREEDERS' CUP MILE

Video courtesy of Breeders' Cup World Championships

As a 4-year-old, Lure was nearly invincible. He had found his niche on the grass, and his reputation grew with each race. The colt won six of his eight starts that season and finished second twice. He reeled off graded stakes victories in the Turf Classic Stakes, Dixie Handicap, Daryl’s Joy Stakes and Kelso Handicap, and he was the 1.30-to-1 favorite for the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita. The colt took the lead after a half-mile and never surrendered, drawing off to a 2 ¼-length win. The victory brought his career earnings to more than $1.9 million. 

1993 BREEDERS' CUP MILE

Video courtesy of Breeders' Cup World Championships

Lure kicked off his fourth season of racing with a sparkling 4-length win in the Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland Race Course. After a pair of runner-up finishes, the horse captured two graded stakes and lost the Kelso by a nose. Lure nevertheless headed into the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Mile a clear-cut favorite. He was running for a then-record-setting third Breeders’ Cup victory and was destined for stud duty at Claiborne Farm after his career finale. The race proved to be an anticlimax rather than the anticipated coronation.

Breaking from the outside post, Lure never looked comfortable while racing wide around both turns at Churchill Downs. The horse was in the clear coming into the stretch but did not have his customary kick and flattened out to finish ninth. Barathea spurted away to win by three lengths.

Lure finished his career with 14 wins and eight second-place finishes from 25 starts, amassing earnings of $2,515,289. His record on the turf stands at 11 wins and six seconds from 18 starts with the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Mile his only finish worse than second. Lure is recognized by many as one of the best horses to never win an Eclipse Award after his 1993 season was overshadowed by that of Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Kotashaan.

Lure headed to the Claiborne Farm breeding shed with a $50,000 stud fee after his loss in the Breeders’ Cup, but he came up short in his stud career. The 6-year-old proved to be subfertile and would sire just 133 foals in nine crops. After one season at Claiborne, the farm cashed on Lure’s fertility insurance policy, and Coolmore bought the horse from the insurance company to stand him at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.

Though he had a low number of offspring, Lure’s first crop included Group 1 stakes winner and successful sire Orpen while Grade 1 winner England’s Legend resulted from his second crop. In all, Lure sired six stakes winners, three of them graded or group winners. Lure was pensioned due to fertility issues in 2003, and he retired to his birthplace Claiborne Farm where he lives today. Lure was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2013.

Image Description

Christina Moore

A Midwest native, Christina Moore grew up loving horses and racing, leading to her degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois. She later got her master’s degree at the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program. Christina interned at Keeneland and Del Mar while also working as a freelance writer before joining the America’s Best Racing team in March 2014.

Image Description

Christina Moore

A Midwest native, Christina Moore grew up loving horses and racing, leading to her degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois. She later got her master’s degree at the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program. Christina interned at Keeneland and Del Mar while also working as a freelance writer before joining the America’s Best Racing team in March 2014.

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