Dolan shocked by Amore Vita's death
By Adam Hamilton
Star Kiwi-bred mare Amore Vita has collapsed and died in track work.
Devastated owner-breeder Steve Dolan said he was still trying to come to terms with losing the mighty mare.
“I’m still trying to digest it all,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed some tears.
“It’s a huge financial loss with a mare like her, but it hurts a lot more emotionally.
“I’m gutted to be honest. Clayton (Tonkin) told me she just dropped dead of a heart attack while jogging.”
Amore Vita raced just 37 times for 18 wins – four of those at Group 1 level – along with 12 placings and banked $668,553.
“We were bringing her back for a possible go at the Miracle Mile and the Queen Elizabeth in Sydney and then retire her to breed from,” Dolan said.
Amore Vita started her career in NZ with Dolan, who sent her across to Nathan Purdon as late two-year-old during his time training at Lara in Victoria.
When Purdon moved back to NZ, he and Dolan decided Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin were the best option to take over training the mare.
Amore Vita ran second in the Breeders Crown 2YO final and then scored her first Group 1 win a few weeks later in the Vicbred 2YO Fillies’ final on December 31, 2021.
She later added to her Group 1 tally in the Vicbred 3YO Fillies’ final, along with the Golden Girl at Albion Park on July 15, this year and the Vicbred 4YO Mares’ final on September 16.
Champion Aussie driver Chris Alford, who partnered Amore Vita in most of her races, said she was up with the best mares he has driven.
"She had this incredible will to win, like very few horses I've driven," he said. "Early on her speed was her greatest asset, but then it became her strength.
"She did it for three years at the very top level. It's a huge thing to win three Vicbred finals in a row.
"She really was one of those horses you're lucky to drive."
Dolan and the late Grant Adamson bought and raced Amore Vita’s mother Castellina Lover.
“After Grant passed away, his wife Karen was happy breeding from the mare and selling her progeny, but I said I’d like to keep one if the right one came along,” Dolan said.
“There was just something about Amore Vita as a foal. She was charismatic and had presence. I told Karen she’s the one to keep. It was a fantastic story when she turned out so good.”