Champion 3-year-old of 1974
Sadly, the oldest living winner of a Triple Crown race, Little Current who won both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1974, had to be euthanized on January 19th at the age of 32 after an attack of colic. A post-mortem examination identified the cause of the colic as a strangulation of the small intestine, caused by a benign fatty tumor.
The chestnut son of Sea-Bird finished 5th in the Kentucky Derby before sweeping the other two legs of the Triple Crown and being named Champion 3-year-old colt of 1974. His home since 1995 was Maverick Farm near Monroe, WA, where he had been reported to still be rambuncious and enjoying his retirement. He will be buried at Doug Arnold's Buck Pond Farm in Varsailles, KY, where he stood at stud for part of his stallion career.
Little Current only raced three times after winning the Belmont, and although he failed to win he did finish 2nd in both the Travers and the Haskell Invitational. He was retired due to a bone chip with 4 wins in 16 starts and earnings of $354,704, and was syndicated at stud for $4 million. As a stallion, Little Current sired 35 stakes winners, standing at farms in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Washington. He sired 519 foals in 22 crops with 325 winners and total progeny earnings of $15,394,739.
With Little Current gone, 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Spectacular Bid is now the oldest Classic winner. 1979 Belmont winner Coastal was also believed to still alive in South Africa.
There is a movement to get Little Current inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame being led by his biggest fan, Kevin Grace. You can get more info about this campaign, including how to participate, here.
Little Current online:
Photo ©2003, Kevin Grace
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