Xtra Heat Passes Away

Xtra Heat (Dixieland Heat–Begin, by Hatchet Man), winner of 25 black-type races in an overachieving career that saw her named the Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old filly of 2001, passed away last December at the age of 24, according to a release from Woodford Thoroughbreds.

Bred in Kentucky by Pope McLean, Sr., Pope McLean, Jr., Marc McLean and P. Feringa, the diminutive Xtra Heat sold for less than five figures as a weanling, yearling and 2-year-old, but won her first six races before tasting defeat for the first time in the 2000 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, her lone career foray around two turns.

She went nine-for-13 during her championship season in 2001, breaking through at the Grade I level with a victory over Above Perfection (In Excess {Ire}) and Harmony Lodge (Hennessy) in the Prioress S. ahead of a runner-up effort to Victory Ride (Seeking the Gold) in that year’s GI Test S. Following three subsequent facile scores against her peers in the Mid-Atlantic region by a combined 22 3/4 lengths, Xtra Heat was given her chance against the boys in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and the fleet filly cut out the running before being run down in the dying strides by Squirtle Squirt (Marquetry).



Wire-to-wire winner of her first two starts at four, including the GII Barbara Fritchie H. with 128 pounds on her back and spotting her rivals between 13 and 16 pounds, Xtra Heat ventured to old Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai and finished a creditable third behind the repeating Caller One (Phone Trick).

Following a sixth-place effort in the 2002 Sprint, Xtra Heat was offered at the Fasig-Tipton Night of the Stars sale and was led out unsold when bidding reached $1.7 million. Owners Kenneth Taylor and Harry Deitchman sold Xtra Heat to ClassicStar in a private transaction and she closed her career with a successful title defense in the Barbara Fritchie. She was retired with a mark of 35-26-5-2 and earnings of $2,389,635 and was trained throughout her career by John D. Salzman. Woodford Thoroughbreds purchased Xtra Heat privately through a ClassicStar dispersal in 2006. She was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 2015.

The first three foals out of Xtra Heat achieved black-type, including the stakes-winning and Grade III-placed Southwestern Heat (Gone West), who went on to a stallion career in Australia; the stakes-placed X Rated Cat (Storm Cat); and SW & GSP Elusive Heat (Elusive Quality), a $750,000 FTFFEB graduate who serves as the granddam of multiple Grade III winner Scalding (Nyquist), SW & GSP Tracksmith (Street Sense) and SW Hot and Sultry (Speightster). Woodford pensioned Xtra Heat from broodmare duties in 2019 and since that time, she has enjoyed her time in the Florida sun at Woodford’s Reddick, Florida, farm, according to the release.

“Xtra Heat knows her place in the world and is always first at feed time,” Woodford owner John Sykes said in 2022. “Xtra Heat is confident in her bearing, but easy to be around. The little brown mare with a great big heart inspires our team to look for potential in every horse.”

With the news of the mare’s passing having been made public, Sykes said, “I have always been proud to have the privilege of owning and being responsible for a Hall of Fame horse. She will be greatly missed on the farm and by the team.”

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