Northern Baby, the country’s leading sire of steeplechasers, was euthanized on Feb. 28 at Arthur B. Hancock III’s Stone Farm near Paris, Ky. The 31-year-old son of Northern Dancer stood his last breeding season in 2000. Hancock announced in early 2001 that Northern Baby was being pensioned because of declining fertility.
“He was a real nice horse to be around, and he did very well as a stud,” said Hancock. “He was a good sire, but not a spectacular sire. We sold some nice yearlings out of him, and we raced a few.”
Bred by Kinghaven Farms, Northern Baby sold for $120,000 at the Keeneland (Ky.) July select yearling auction. He raced in England and France, scoring in 1979 Champion Stakes (England Grade I) and finishing third in both that year’s Epsom Derby (England Grade I) and Coral Eclipse Stakes (England Grade I). He also captured the 1980 Prix Dollar (France Grade II) and the 1979 Prix de la Cote Normande (France Grade III). He won five of his 17 career races and earned $329,983.
Northern Baby started his stud career in 1982 and spent his first season in Ireland. He sired no fewer than 47 stakes winners on the flat, and his top-earner was Possibly Perfect, North America’s champion mare on grass in 1995, who collected $1,367,050 in three seasons.
From 1995 to present, Northern Baby had 54 starters and 30 winners in steeplechasing with total earnings of $1,761,689 through 2006. His chief earner is It’s A Giggle, who accumulated $347,790. He also sired champion steeplechasers Highland Bud, who won the Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase in 1989 and ’92, and Warm Spell who won Steeplechasing’s Eclipse Award in 1994.