Updated on 01/17/2016 5:00PM

Champion sprinter Gulch dies at 32

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Gulch, a Breeders’ Cup and Eclipse Award winner and the sire of a Kentucky Derby winner, was euthanized Sunday at the Old Friends Equine Retirement in Georgetown, Ky. due to complications from cancer. He was 32.

A foal of 1984, Gulch was a standout throughout his three seasons of racing, winning 13 of 32 starts and $3,095,521. A seven-time Grade 1 winner, including back-to-back runnings of the Met Mile (1987-88), his crowning achievement came in his career finale, when he rallied to win the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Sprint under Angel Cordero Jr. The Breeders’ Cup victory earned him the Eclipse for top sprinter that year.

Gulch, by Mr. Prospector out of Jameela, was bred and owned by industrialist Peter M. Brant. He was trained at 2 and 3 by Leroy Jolley and at 4 by D. Wayne Lukas.

As a sire who stood for 21 years at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky., easily his most accomplished son or daughter was Thunder Gulch, the 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner en route to earning that year’s champion 3-year-old male honors. Thunder Gulch, himself the leading sire of 2001, now resides as a pensioner at Ashford Stud in Versailles.

Gulch’s more than 70 stakes winners at stud also included Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Court Vision, English One Thousand Guineas winner Harayir, Grade/Group 1 winners Nayaef, Eagle Cafe, The Cliff’s Edge, and Wallenda (also an Old Friends resident), as well as Grade 2 winner Scrimshaw, who ran third in the 2003 Preakness Stakes.

After being pensioned because of declining fertility in December 2009 to Old Friends, he became one of the most celebrated retirees at the farm. Old Friends founder Michael Blowen often spoke glowingly of the horse’s kind demeanor and how he thrived on all the attention bestowed on him by a steady stream of admiring visitors.

This message was posted Sunday on the Old Friends Facebook page: “Sad, sad news today: Gulch has died. The great Breeders' Cup champion was euthanized this morning and we already miss him more than we can say. Thanks to all his friends and fans who have visited him over these many years.

 “Gulch, it was an honor and a privilege.”

- additional reporting by Joe Nevills

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Great racehorse. Horses like Gultch are some times overlooked as great racehorses because they did not win the derby or have winning streaks. But this horse did somethings that only. Great horse can achieve. He ran often 32 times against the best of his generation and won 12 . But what sets him apart was that he was amongst the best at various distances not only did he compete well in the triple crown races but he also won the Met mile 2 x but he also beat the best sprinters in the world in the breeders cup sprint. He filled all the boxes. A well bred horse by Mr prospector out of a millionaire race mare (52 starts ) who did not disappoint on the racetrack and went on to be a great sire. A class act all around. Rest in peace.
Cathy Robinson More than 1 year ago
Just saw him there in November. Really hit me hard. RIP Gulch