Aloma's Ruler, winner of 1982 Preakness, dies at 24

Maryland-stabled horse won for Scherr, Kaenel

Horse Racing

July 15, 2003|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Aloma's Ruler, who held the mantle of oldest living Preakness winner for 12 days, died June 21 at a farm in Illinois. He was 24.

When Spectacular Bid, winner of the 1979 Preakness, died June 9 in New York, Aloma's Ruler became the oldest living winner of the second jewel of racing's Triple Crown. Aloma's Ruler captured the Preakness in 1982, defeating the heavy favorite, Linkage, by a half length.

Aloma's Ruler and Linkage were stabled in Maryland. John J. "Butch" Lenzini Jr. trained Aloma's Ruler, and Maryland builder Nathan "Red" Scherr owned him. A 16-year-old jockey, "Cowboy Jack" Kaenel, rode the colt to victory in the Preakness.

Lenzini picked out Aloma's Ruler as a 2-year-old, and Scherr bought him at auction for $92,000. A son of Iron Ruler and the Native Charger mare Aloma, Aloma's Ruler won seven of 13 races and earned $498,883.

Three and a half months after his Preakness victory at odds of 6-1, Aloma's Ruler ran his last race, finishing second in the Travers. He was retired because of ankle problems.

An undistinguished stud career included stints in Kentucky, Maryland and Illinois. Aloma's Ruler stood at Shamrock Farms in Woodbine from 1989 to 1996.

"The horse was a shy breeder," said Jim Steele, manager at Shamrock. "He would come out, and a hot mare would be standing right in front of him, and he'd look out the window and want to eat hay. He was just a different kind of horse. He took a lot of work."

From Maryland, Aloma's Ruler went to Le Roy Bormet's B&B Farm in Illinois, about 50 miles south of Chicago. Bormet said that he bred Aloma's Ruler to a few mares, but that interest quickly waned in the old classics winner.

"He was always a proud horse," Bormet said. "He'd dance when you took him out, and he'd dance when you brought him in. It wasn't that he was tough or anything. He just felt good and acted proud."

According to Bormet, he turned Aloma's Ruler this spring over to a friend, Gary Clark, because Clark had a larger field in which the horse could live. Yesterday, Bormet said Clark called him Saturday to tell him Aloma's Ruler had died June 21. Bormet said Clark told him he found the horse dead in a field and buried him at his farm. Clark could not be reached for comment.

Clark's farm is about 50 miles north of Chicago, Bormet said. He said that he didn't know the cause of death, but that he presumed it was heart failure or something linked to old age.

Scherr retained ownership of Aloma's Ruler. He is 80 and resides in a nursing home in Reisterstown.

The death of Aloma's Ruler leaves Deputed Testamony as the oldest living Preakness winner. Born, raised and standing at stud at Bonita Farm in Darlington in Harford County, Deputed Testamony won the Preakness for the Boniface family in 1983. The grand-looking horse is 23.

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