Turkish legendary thoroughbred Bold Pilot dead at 22
Bold Pilot won 21 of the 30 races in his career.Bold Pilot, arguably the most successful thoroughbred racehorse born and raised in Turkey, died April 29 at the age of 22.
His career high came on June 30, 1996, at the Gazi Race, a prestigious horse racing event established in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. Bold Pilot won the race with
jockey Halis Karataş in a record time of 2.26.22, a record which still stands.
Karataş, one of the best Turkish jockeys of all time, rode Bold Pilot in all but four races in the horse’s career, winning 21 of them.
“Bold Pilot has a very special place in my jockeying career,” six-time Gazi winner Karataş said. “He had tremendous power and too much energy, and he made you feel it the minute you get on. With his expressions and appearance, Bold Pilot was a true champion,” he said.
“I loved to train him. We started training whenever he wanted to. He loved to watch around, listen to himself. Trainings usually take 10-15 minutes, but with Bold Pilot, they took much longer,” added Karataş, who has won over 5,000 races in his career.
Bold Pilot was sired by Persian Bold in 1993 and owned by Özdemir Atman. He began his racing life as a two-year-old, winning his first race on May 28, 1995, despite becoming unsettled before the race.
Pre-start problems haunted Bold Pilot early in his career, and he finished second in three of his first six races as a two-year-old.
The Çaldıran Race on Oct. 15, 1995 was the start of an 11-race win streak for Bold Pilot, which included victories in the Group 1 Gazi, Prime Ministry, Çaldıran and International Bosphorus races.
Bold Pilot’s final race came in the Prime Ministry Race on Aug. 16, 1998, which he managed to finish in fourth place despite a foot injury.
Bold Pilot made his final appearance at Veliefendi Hipoodrome on June 30, 2013, as thousands applauded the legendary racehorse in a special ceremony to honor him and celebrate his career.