We begin this day with the heaviest hearts, so saddened to have to share this news. Our gallant, beloved Better Talk Now was euthanized late last evening at New Bolton Center. Complications from intestinal surgery had become too much to overcome.
Blackie came to Fair Hill as a 3-year-old in 2002 and never left us. The ensuing years literally catapulted Graham into the international spotlight – Blackie’s stunning upset in the 2004 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf-G1 at Lone Star Park remains one of the most talked-about runnings in the race’s history. He took Team Herringswell to Tokyo for the Japan Cup-G1 in 2005, and to Nad Al Sheba for the Dubai Sheema Classic-G1 in 2008.
He and Ramon Dominguez were nearly invincible together. Carrying the blue and white silks of Brent Johnson, Karl Barth and Chris Dwyer’s Bushwood Stables, the pair won four other Grade 1 turf classics. Remarkably, they also competed in five consecutive renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Turf from 2004 through 2008.
By the time his career ended at age 10 in 2009, the Kentucky-bred son of Talkin Man – Bendita (by Baldski) had recorded stats of 51-14-8-5 and earned $4,356,664.
Owner Brent Johnson asked us to share the following statement:
“Bushwood Stables is sad to announce that Better Talk Now was euthanized June 27 at age 18 due to complications from colic. He displayed the same toughness fighting his final battle as he did when showing his special talents on the track that won him so many fans in the racing world.
We would like to thank New Bolton Center, and especially Dr. Janet Johnston, for their dedication and care of Better Talk Now over these past few weeks. We are confident he was in great hands and that his well-being was always the number one priority during this difficult time.
We would also like to thank Graham and Anita Motion and all the people at Herringswell Stables for the unsurpassed care Better Talk Now received in his retirement. We cannot express how grateful we are that they wanted to keep Blackie with them when his racing days ended He truly had a wonderful retirement, although we all wish it could have lasted a bit longer.
Finally, we want to thank Better Talk Now for giving us and our families some of the greatest and most joyous experiences of our lives. It was truly a gift to be associated with such an amazing equine athlete and to enjoy an incredible eight racing seasons watching his talent flourish. He took us places few ever get to go, and we will be forever grateful to have had him in our lives.”
A small group of us spent last evening with Blackie, and Ramon and his wife Sharon joined us via Facetime. Both of Blackie’s regular exercise riders, Fenella O’Flynn and Lisa Davison, were there with him as well. So many stories were shared. There were a great many tears shed, but just as many smiles. What a character he was – willful, opinionated, often cantankerous. But always a star, and he knew it. It was Blackie’s way or the highway. He mellowed a bit in retirement and never failed to realize when visitors had come especially to see him. And come they did; his following was huge and fiercely loyal.
His passing, just like his presence, leaves a massive impact. We’ll miss seeing that black coat gleaming in the sun in the paddock he shared with his best buddy Gala Spinaway. We’ll miss stopping to stuff them both full of peppermints whenever we passed by. We’ll miss having a champion of his magnitude in our daily lives. But what a trip it’s been.
We are forever thankful for Blackie, and for those of you who took him into your hearts as we did. Rest assured that his last hours were spent completely surrounded by love and comfort. In the end, however, Blackie himself told us it was time. He fought the good fight. He knew how much he meant to us, and we know how much he meant to all of you.
Sleep well, Blackie. It was an honor.
The 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf: