Steadfast Airdrie Stallion Include Dies

By Sara Gordon, TDN

Grade I winner Include (Broad Brush—Illeria, by Stop the Music) was euthanized July 18 at Airdrie Stud, the farm he called home for the past 19 years, due to a worsening heart condition. He was 25 years old.

The Airdrie team were made aware of the stallion’s heart condition last year and he was pensioned from stud duty shortly thereafter, in the fall of 2021.

“His condition worsened to where he was showing us that there was potentially going to be an unhappy ending and we weren’t going to let that happen. We made the very difficult, from an emotional standpoint, a very difficult decision [to euthanize him], but a very easy decision when you’re acting in the best interest of the horse,” said Bret Jones, vice president of Airdrie.

Bred in Maryland by Robert E. Meyerhoff and campaigned by his breeder throughout his four-season career, Include gained national attention as arguably one of the country’s top handicap horses as a 4-year-old in 2001, with victories in the GI Pimlico Special H., GII New Orleans H. and GII Massachusetts H.

Trained by Grover “Bud” Delp, the Maryland-bred was also second in that year’s running of the GII Clark H., and third back-to-back in the GII Suburban H. and GII Meadowlands Cup H., with his worst finish that season a seventh in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“[Include] is the second-best horse I have ever trained beside Spectacular Bid, and I’ve had some pretty nice horses,” Delp said in a Suffolk Downs press release sent out ahead of Include’s victory in the 2001 Massachusetts H. “He’s got a lot of class. The way he ran down Albert The Great from the three-sixteenths pole in the Pimlico Special proved to me he was more than just a good horse.”

The unanimous selection for Horse of the Year and champion older male in Maryland in 2001, Include retired as a 5-year-old with 10 wins from 20 starts and earnings of $1,659,560, also earning 13 triple digit Beyers along the way – including a 117 in the Pimlico Special. He secured seven stakes wins and was Grade II stakes-placed four times.

Include entered stud at Airdrie in 2003, with hopes high as the stallion, who carried his speed around two turns with great success, also offered an attractive outcross for mares with Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer blood as a son of Broad Brush (Ack Ack).

“It was really a big deal when we first got Include. He had a very obviously impressive track record, you know a Grade I winner on the track, had run really incredible numbers. I remember that being one of the things we were really drawn to,” said Jones. “[He was] bred beautifully, [from a] wonderful family, out of a mare that’s gone on to be a really great broodmare. He looked tough and he was tough, and all that added up to what we thought was a very exciting stallion prospect.

“We immediately started supporting him as strongly as we could to try to give him that opportunity. He was a success really from the start.”

And he was, with his first two crops of racing age producing the likes of multiple GI winner Panty Raid, a filly out of the Private Account mare Adventurous Di, and GI winner Cash Included, a filly out of the Chimes Band mare Henderson Band.

As a 3-year-old, Panty Raid won the GII Black-Eyed Susan S., her first stakes win, before taking the GI American Oaks Invitational Stakes and following up with a victory in the GI Juddmonte Spinster S. in 2007. A $110,000 yearling sold at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton July Sale, she eventually went on to sell for $2.5 million at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

“When you start thinking about these stallions, all the memories start coming back, and [Include] was with us for a very long time. We were lucky we bred and raced, in partnership with our great friend Tim Thornton, a filly named Include Betty, who won the [GI] Mother Goose for us, which was a wonderful day,” said Jones. “We bred Include Me Out, another Grade I winner, [and] I remember Panty Raid, how excited we were when she broke her maiden at Saratoga [in 2006] and then went on to be the Grade I winner she was.”

Include Betty, a $42,000 yearling, won the GI Mother Goose S. over favored Wonder Gal (Tiz Wonderful) in 2015, while also securing victory in that year’s GIII Fantasy S. and finishing second in the GII Black-Eyed Susan S., while third in the GI Coaching Club American Oaks. Just three years prior, Include Me Out picked up three consecutive graded stakes victories at Santa Anita in the GII La Canada S., GI Santa Margarita Invitational S. and GII Marjorie L. Everett H., before winning the GI Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar-all in 2012.

Oklahoma-bred She’s All In, from Include’s 2007 foal crop, remains his highest earner with $1,102,489 bankrolled from 16 wins, eight seconds and three thirds in 38 career starts, topped by an impressive victory in the 2012 GIII Sixty Sails Handicap.

“He was probably the most underrated stallion we ever stood. I don’t know if he ever got his due in the commercial market because all he ever did was sire racehorses. The average earning index is something we pay a lot of attention to and historically he’s always improved his mares,” said Jones. “He got labeled as a filly sire, because he had some exceptional fillies, I mean he really did, [but] he never threw a colt that really had his brilliance. I wish I was smart enough to figure out why that was.

“He was really a remarkable sire of fillies and through that I think will be a really, really good broodmare sire.”

Other progeny highlights include Virginia-bred colt Redeemed, winner of the GII Brooklyn H. and GIII Greenwood Cup S. in 2012, who also took the GIII Discovery H. the previous year. He retired with $832,140 in earnings and later ranked as a leading first-crop, second-crop, and third-crop sire in the Mid-Atlantic region while standing at Northview Stallion Station in Maryland.

Among current runners, 5-year-old mare Sconsin reigns supreme as she keeps her sire’s legacy alive with multiple graded stakes victories, most recently capturing the GIII Winning Colors S. in May as she nears the $1 million in earnings mark.

“That’s the amazing thing about the horse business, you can go back through the catalog pages and look back two, three, four generations and see those old friends. Include is going to be one of those old friends that is going to be on those catalog pages for a long, long time,” said Jones.

With 17 crops of racing age, from 19 crops total, Include has sired 799 winners (66%) and 988 starters (82%) from his 1,202 foals of racing age to date. Those include six champions in Puerto Rico, Argentina, Canada and Panama; 24 graded black-type stakes winners; and 56 black-type stakes winners. His progeny earnings are in excess of $63 million.

“If you have an Include that’s a good 2-year-old, you may really have a special horse, like a Panty Raid, because they seem to always get better with more racing,” said Jones. “They run with that real desire to win, were very sound horses just like himself, and a lot of people that race Includes have a lot of fun not only earning money but winning a lot of races.”

Though there is a silver lining to be found in his final crops of foals, along with the continuous impact he’ll have as a broodmare sire, the Airdrie team will forever mourn the loss of the longtime stallion and barn favorite.

“It’s to his great credit and the credit of our syndicate members who really helped support him that he was able to stay in the stallion barn his entire life. He was absolutely one of the favorites in the barn for everybody, he really ran the show. Anybody who came to the stallion barn, any time one of the other stallions would parade by Include’s stall, he let everybody know that he didn’t want that horse anywhere near his turf. He would yell out, which would always make everybody laugh and they would say, ‘There’s Include.’ He was the boss,” recalled Jones.

“I think the boss of the barn is a very fitting legacy for Include and he will be missed by everyone who ever spent time with him.”