Death of Albert Steigenberger, former leading German owner and breeder
Scion of hotelier clan campaigned Platini, Paita, Karloff et al
Albert Steigenberger, for many years a major owner and breeder in Germany, passed away on Thursday at the age of 62.
A scion of the Steigenberger dynasty of hoteliers, and the heir to a fortune when his father Egon died in 1985, he spent much of his newly acquired wealth on thoroughbreds.
Steigenberger had had little interest in horses as a young man but was reportedly bitten by the racing bug when the family business provided catering for Baden Baden racecourse during its festival. He soon founded a successful racing stable, using the methods of Walther Jacobs of Gestut Fahrhof as inspiration.
He owned as many as 60 horses at the height of his involvement and was a significant investor at British and Irish sales. As a notably fresh-faced, flamboyant figure in a German industry dominated by older and more conservative participants, he attracted more than his fair share of attention.
Steigenberger's crowning achievement was when two of his charges – the homebred colt Karloff and purchased filly Calcavecchia – finished first and second in the German Derby of 1990. He also owned the race's long-time favourite, Mandelbaum, but that colt was withdrawn in the week leading up to the Classic.
Steigenberger also bred and campaigned dual Group 1 winner and Japan Cup fourth Platini, later damsire of Dschingis Secret, Eishin Flash and Mr Medici; fellow top-flight scorer Vincenzo; and the high-class filly Chesa Plana, who would produce the Japan Cup hero Alkaased.
Many of the string were named by wife Evelyn after celebrated actors, artists and sportspeople.
One of Steigenberger's later strikes was with Paita, a filly owned jointly with trainer Mario Hofer, who won the Criterium de Saint-Cloud and was sold on to Teruya Yoshida. The pair enjoyed a similarly bountiful payday with Peligroso, who was sold to Godolphin after winning a Group 3 at Krefeld at two.
Steigenberger had served in several industry roles, with Germany's racing administrator the Direktorium and on the boards of Frankfurt and Dusseldorf racing clubs.
Having exhausted much of his inheritance and struggled with alcohol and gambling addictions, Steigenberger later reduced his racing interests to a minimum and set up his own florist business, but he returned to the industry as a contributor to the German racing press as a reporter and breeding expert.