Laminitis Claims Record-Priced The Green Monkey At Age 14

by | 07.08.2018 | 11:05pm
The Green Monkey at Hartley De Renzo (Serita Hult photo)

The Green Monkey, whose $16-million price tag remains the world record for a Thoroughbred at public auction, was euthanized in the late spring due to complications from laminitis. He was 14.

The son of Forestry resided at Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds in Ocala, Fla., where he spent his entire stallion career.

“He was doing excellent, and then probably a year and a half ago, he foundered,” said farm co-owner Randy Hartley. “We just struggled with him ever since, trying to do everything we could to get him right. It just got to the point where it wasn't the right thing to do.”

The Green Monkey became a global fascination at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Calder Select 2-Year-Olds In Training Sale when a drawn-out bidding war between Demi O'Byrne of the Coolmore partnership and John Ferguson of the Darley operation ended with O'Byrne signing the historic ticket. Sensing the weight of the battle going on in front of him, auctioneer Walt Robertson ditched the typical rapid-fire chant for a slow, calm asking for the next bid; a stark contrast to the buzz of the crowd that built every time the number on the board rose.

“There are two people out here, both being told not to go home without this horse,” announcer Terence Collier quipped from the stand as the asking price hit the record price.

The Green Monkey drew the attention of the global powerhouses after breezing an eighth of a mile in :9 4/5 seconds during the under-tack show at Calder Race Course.

It was the coup of a lifetime for the Hartley/De Renzo consignment, which bought the colt for $425,000 at the previous year's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Select Yearling Sale. The Green Monkey was bred in Florida by Padua Stables, out of the winning Unbridled mare Magical Masquerade.

The colt's somewhat unorthodox name stemmed from the Green Monkey golf course in Barbados, owned by a group including John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith of the Coolmore partnership.

He was placed in the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher, but a nagging injury torpedoed any chance of racing at age two.

The colt pulled a gluteal muscle during a five-furlong breeze at Saratoga in August of that year, and he was sent to Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., to recover. He returned to the farm for the rest of his juvenile season after re-aggravating the injury in November, and he did not show up on the worktab again until June of his 3-year-old season.

The Green Monkey finally made his first start in September 2007, late in his sophomore year, running an even third at Belmont Park. He tried for the lead in his second start in October at Belmont, but faded to fourth. The colt was moved to Hollywood Park in late November and put on the turf for his final start, where he again made a bid for the lead and tired to fourth. He retired with on-track earnings of $10,440.

Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds bought a half-interest in the horse upon his retirement, and stood him at its stallion operation, beginning in 2009. Per their agreement with Coolmore, The Green Monkey could have been moved to Ashford Stud if his foals excelled on the track.

The Green Monkey bred 40 mares in his initial book, but he never covered more than 12 in any season following his debut.

His biggest success at stud was Monkey Business, winner of the 2015 filly Triple Crown in Panama. Domestically, The Green Monkey's top runners were stakes winners Kinz Funky Monkey and Green Doctor.

Hartley said The Green Monkey was buried on the farm.

“Nobody will have his stall or anything, it's a special place,” he said. “There will never be another horse like him for us. I thank the lord for him.”

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