The great Alydar had fathered them both. Yet the noble birthright did little to secure a place in this world for his progeny as the pair of foals grew up and rocketed off toward a future in racing, one to earn millions, the other to fall through the cracks.
The stallion Turkoman and mare Promethia, who were born four days apart nearly 32 years ago, shared a lineage that only went so far. Though Promethia fetched $360,000 at a 2-year-old sale in 1986—a tremendous figure in that day—the filly won only a handful of races before she was retired as a broodmare, and eventually forgotten.
Her brother Turkoman, on the other hand, was a rock star. Named the 1986 Champion Older Horse, he earned more than $2 million on the track before retiring to stud.
Thinking of how far both horses have come, and of the struggles and victories they’ve had, Marlene Murray of equine charity R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc., says she will never forget the amazing brother and sister offspring of Alydar, and their separate but remarkable journeys.
“Both of these horses have such amazing stories. Promethia’s story is so touching, she had to be rescued … and there was a point when nobody could help her. And Turkoman, my God, he’s a huge winner!” Murray says. “These horses, both by Alydar, born four days apart, lived such different lives.”
The horses got onto her radar in May 2011, when Murray learned that Promethia needed help.
Foal date: April 11, 1982
Dam: Her B.
Foal date: April 15, 1982
Earnings: $32,170Discovered at a Kentucky farm, thin and suffering from a serious eye infection that required immediate surgery, Murray quickly joined other Thoroughbred advocates, including Deb Jones of California, to find her into a good home where proper care could be administered.
After searching for an open stall and willing caretakers, Elise Handler of Lexington, Ky., and her fiancé Matthew stepped up and agreed to take in the broodmare who had produced nine live foals in her lifetime.
Immediately after her move to Handler’s farm, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute veterinarians Drs. Jamelyn Kyser and Jill Westerholm performed emergency eye surgery, free of charge, and the old mare came through with flying colors.
“Her eye was so badly infected that vets worried it could rupture,” Murray says. “Elise, who cares for her now, happens to be a vet tech at Hagyard, and she volunteered to take care of her for the two or three months of post-op.”
However, Elise fell in love with the mare, and it was decided that the best place for Promethia to stay was with Elise, where she now has a permanent home.
As Promethia recovered from surgery, Murray reached out through social media to find out if any other Alydar offspring of such a great age were still living. “I thought it was possible we had the oldest living Alydar descendant,” she says, noting that she quickly learned the old mare had a successful brother born four days earlier in April 1982.
While Turkoman had done everything right as a racehorse, earning millions and later retiring to stud at E.A. Ranches in California, he did, for a few months in 2008, suffer a bad patch, says ranch General Manager Marguerite Eliasson.
In July 2008 the old stallion was retired from breeding to another farm, and the change of scenery threw him off his game, Eliasson says.
“He started pacing at his new farm and dropped so much weight that they called me and said they were concerned” for his safety, she says. “I was desperate to bring him back. These old stallions just don’t handle change well, and he was such a phenomenal racehorse that I had to do something.”
Three months later, the ranch made room for him back at the farm, and returned him to his familiar pasture. Eliasson along with a host of other supporters contribute a small monthly donation to defray his costs, so the nearly 32-year-old stallion can trot stiff-legged around his old stomping grounds.
Turkoman and Promethia: both are venerable old Alydar descendants. They took far different paths to arrive in the soft, plush comfort of retirement, but now that they have, it is nothing but peppermints and hugs from here on out.
22 responses to “Alydar foals to turn 32 in April, what a trip”
GOD BLESS ALYDAR AND HIS CHILDREN TURKOMAN AND PROMETHIA.
I own a grandson of Turkoman now turning 21 and who is now enjoying retirement. He has had and will continue to have a wonderful life being spoiled silly. It is really amazing to me how much he resembles Turkoman. I would love to find a great grandson of Turkoman or a great, great grandson of Alydar. My baby is so special. One of a kind, but that personality comes straight from the top.
We are in the process of purchasing one of his sons for my daughters eventing this year he is a fabulous horse and we are honored to own one of Alydar’s Grandsons and one of Turkoman’s Sons. Such an awe inspiring horses.
I live only an hour away from EA Ranches. I’m going to call and see when I can visit Turkoman!
Given the lifespans of his progeny I wonder how long Alydar would have lived had he not had died from such a freakish “accident (ahem)”
As a member of Old Friends, here in Kentucky, I am so happy that these two horses are being well taken care of. I am a diehard Alydar fanatic. He’s my all-time favorite horse. I always make a point to keep his memory alive. I have visited Turkoman several times at Darby Dan in Lexington, KY. When I went to L.A. for Wrestlemania 21, I went to Mira Loma Ranch where he was. Now that I think about it, he didn’t look very happy there. Anyway, I am so happy he is at a place where he is happy. So happy for Promethia too.
Oh, I’d love to see CANTER Michigan’s new “Alydar” family member. I know CANTER Michigan has moved, can you tell me where you are located now? Used to be in South Lyon (which was very near my home in Brighton).
Canter Michigan just brought in a 3 year old gelding with Alydar bloodline, “Taradamnick” from Kentuck who raced 8 times, did well until a bone chip ended his racing career. He’s recovering from CANTER paid surgery at MSU, is quite an athlete and will be retrained as a Sport Horse. Thank you Alydar for those great bloodlines!
I own an Alydar descendant of the next generation. Steady Smiler (who has a pretty amazing story of his own), Alydar is his grandsire. He is by Repletion who from what I can find is still standing at stud in Canada at age 25. I didn’t realize until this article the longevity of the Alyday progeny. Makes me happy to know that I probably have many many more years with my Steady. Alydar was an amazing horse who passed on so many amazing qualities.
beauties both of them.. am teary reading this.
Thanks for this wonderful story and to all who helped these two horses survive. Unfortunately broodmares are often neglected and forgotten after they stop producing. So many end up at feedlots it’s disgusting. But even more shocking is to find Turkoman in need after earning millions on the track and in the shed.This is so wrong! I’m glad these two have a happy ending but I still feel so sad about the state of the industry.
Turkoman stood at Darby Dan in Kentucky for a number of years. My good friend bred her mare to him, and we both visited him at Darby Dan. That said, one would think that a horse who earned in excess of $2 MILLION dollars would have a place for life. It’s good to learn (thank you, Cheryl from Our Mims) that he has been appropriately placed and cared for where he is happy. I am appalled that any horse who has been purposely bred (for ANY discipline) would end up having to beg for funds to keep it. Even worse, that there are many (any is too many) who end up bound for slaughter.
Oh my – nine foals and they let this happen to her. Thank heaven for Our Mims and the wonderful people there. Thank heaven for the wonderful people who helped Promethia. Again – the best and the worst in people seen in the care this mare received. I am sure Promethia knows who loves and cared for her – and loves and cares back.
It is not clear from the article whether or not they were able to save her eye – am presuming not.
Promethia’s eye did have to be removed but she came through the surgery really well and has adjusted to only having one eye. She is so smart and takes everything in stride. A very special horse she is as is Turkoman. So glad they are both here at 32 years of age and doing so well. Amazing they were born 4 days apart. Thank you Susan for your story and may Alydar never be forgotten…..
When Turkoman hit his rough patch, Marguerite contacted us here at Our Mims Retirement Haven. Turk’s dam was Taba… one of our first Ladies; she is buried at the Haven. And, of course, Alydar is half-brother to Our Mims. Since Turk is family, we at the Haven stepped up to help take care of him and bring him back to E.A. Ranches. Through a donation by the people who originally raced Turkoman, we and two other great fans are able to keep him at E.A. Ranches where he is very happy.
Thanks for the story, Susan! So nice to know these two Alydar babies found their way to places where people care. The family of Sweet Tooth is very important and very special. We are so happy to be part of that family.
Cheryl, please know that there is no way on earth to repay you for taking care of Turkoman! Oh, how I love him!
Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you, Susan, for writing about now much loved and cherished Promethia. So glad to find out her brother is safe and sound, too!
I had an Alydar offspring, a mare. She was loving in the pasture, but no sense while under saddle. I have English and western saddles, no difference. while on a trail ride with friends, my daughter riding her, she walked into the river where where WE stopped for a DRINKt, and kept going. My daughter managed to get off as she went under. I watched, my daughter IS A GOOD RIDER, AND HANDLED THE SITUATION AS SHE SHOULD HAVE, GETTING HER TO TURN BACK A LITTLE. . I WILL STICK TO QUARTER HORSES, THANKS! iT WAS HORRID TO WATCH.bUT SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL!
What a sublimely beautiful Baby !!! Bless you for rescuing him. You have my deepest respect.
My friend Andrea received Turkoman’s foal “Ben the Turk”, after his racing career was over. He was a Christmas present from her parents. He showed at the Hampton classics and now is a beloved school horse on Long Island. He is covered in kisses by a bunch of little girls, and has a wonderful life.
It must be such an honor to care for such greatness! Wish it was me! Fantastic story! So glad the twilight years of this pair is met in comfort.
Thank you, Susan, for writing such a wonderful article. for all the readers out there, please visit Promethia’s page, called THE PROMETHIA FUND FOR SPONSORS. Read more about this wonderful, special mare. There is an original CD, written by Marlene Murray, (President of the RACE Fund), produced by Palomino Entertainment Group and read by Victoria Racimo. It is a letter to Promethia’s father Alydar and contains SFX, original music. ALL proceeds go to helping care for Promethia.