Usha Stud's Northern Dancer horse Razeen passed away at the height of his glory. What he achieved in his 15 crops of Classic age, both statistically and intrinsically, is mind-boggling and he leaves behind a stack of records and several benchmarks by which all future stallions will be measured. Starting with the statistics, let's ink his records:-
* Sire of 56 individual Classic winners; the first and only stallion to cross the 50-mark. * Sire of winners of 108 Classics; the first and only stallion to reach the century.
* Sire of 15 individual Indian Classic winners; highest ever.
* Sire of winners of 19 Indian Classics; highest ever. * Sire of 6 winners of Derby Bangalore; most by any stallion.
* Sire of 6 winners of Indian Oaks -- highest ever.
* Sire of 4 winners of Indian Derby -- the highest among stallions of his time.
* Six times Champion Sire.
* Sire of the only Indian-bred -- Southern Regent -- to win a flat race in Europe.
* Thrice Champion Broodmare Sire in the last four years. As of 31 October 2010, Razeen had sired 528 named foals of which 490 had faced the Starter, 419 had hoisted the winning flag in winning 1827 races and earning nearly Rs 63 crore in stakes. One hundred and ninety eight of his runners had earned the black-type giving him an incredible black-type horses to starters ratio.
Legends transcend mere statistics and records. They have an aura which endears them to one and all. In an era of mixed fortunes for Indian sport, Sachin and Razeen were the last bastions of hopeful expectations; something to look forward to, two stalwarts who defied statistics and brought untold joy.
Razeen was a magnificent specimen of a Thoroughbred. Tall, upstanding and powerful and with the 'Look of Eagles' that proclaimed him immediately as the king of the herd. Physically, there was more Graustark -- his maternal grandsire -- than his sire Northern Dancer about him. As a sire, he produced all types; big, powerful dark bays like Star Supremes to neat, smallish chestnuts like Regal Equity. He was prepotent for class but not necessarily for aptitude and his progeny, which invariably inherited his good bone, excelled over all distances - from the Sprinters' Cup winner Shamaal to Stayers' Cup victor Son of Silver. The mile and a half Classics invariably found them at their best and as they turned four, they seemed to come into their own.
The former Henry Cecil-trained Razeen had impeccable bloodlines. By Northern Dancer out of the Graustark mare Secret Asset, the first sixteen names in his pedigree were of horses who themselves were Champions or had produced a Champion. He traced to the Teddy mare La Troienne, the ancestress of several outstanding sires. Along his tail-female line you came across La Troienne twice and three daughters -- Busanda, her three-parts sister Striking and Iron Maiden -- of War Admiral. Razeen had the X-factor and it wouldn't be surprising that he inherited his big heart from one those daughters of War Admiral. The high withers, a key characteristic of War Admiral, was obvious in Razeen and could be seen in most of his daughters.
Age takes its toll and as Razeen grew older, his strike rate dropped. Age, however, does not diminish a stallion's ability of sire good horses. Set Alight and Autonomy, two horses as good as any that Razeen begat, were from his thirteenth crop. His fourteenth crop contained no Classic winner and there is only the little Alice Springs from his fifteenth. For a great stallion, as one innings comes to an end, another one - as a broodmare sire - is just starting to ensure that his legacy carries on well beyond his mortal years. Already the Champion Broodmare Sire in three of the last four years, Razeen will perhaps leave an even greater mark through his daughters who will ensure that his name remains in Indian pedigrees for a long, long time to come.
Of the first four finishers in the Indian Derby this year, Ocean and Beyond was imported 'in utero'. The other three -- Moonlight Romance, Xisca and Macchupicchu -- are all out of Razeen mares. That result must have assured the twenty four years old Razeen that his legacy was assured. It was, he would have felt with satisfaction, a good time to depart.