See his autobiography (1962); biographies by C. Barnes (1982), D. Solway (1998), and J. Kavanagh (2007).
Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn
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Trained by Francois Boutin, in November 1979 Nureyev made his two-year-old racing debut in France. He easily outdistanced the field in the Prix Thomas Bryon at Saint-Cloud Racecourse, winning by six lengths. The following spring of 1980 he won the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte Racecourse in his 3-year-old debut. He was then shipped to Newmarket Racecourse in the United Kingdom for the 2,000 Guineas. It seems that Nureyev had little patience with the rest of the field and in the race he pushed his way between horses to get to the lead and to victory. However, his win would be overturned by the racing stewards, the first time a winner of the 2,000 Guineas Classic was disqualified. Scheduled to compete in June's Epsom Derby, Nureyev came down with a virus and never raced again.
Nureyev was sent to stand at stud at his owner's Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard in Neuvy-au-Houlme in Lower Normandy. Renowned French horseman Alec Head recommended Nureyev to Lexington, Kentucky breeder John T. L. Jones, Jr. and in mid 1981 put together a syndicate that purchased Nureyev for US$14 million. Nureyev was brought to Jones' Walmac-Warnerton Farm partnership near Lexington and then under Jones' wholly owned Walmac International.
In 1987 Nureyev suffered a life-threatening fracture to his right hind leg in a paddock accident during breeding season but veterinary surgeons were able to save his life.
During his breeding career, Nureyev sired 135 stakes winners and more than twenty champions. In 1998, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum set a European sales record when he paid three million guineas for a yearling colt by Nureyev at the Newmarket sales.
Nureyev died aged 24 on October 29, 2001 and is buried at Walmac International in Lexington, Kentucky.