Updated on 09/15/2011 1:24PM

Cup winner Fantastic Light retired

Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Fantastic Light with Frankie Dettori and Saeed Bin Suroor.

Fantastic Light, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf as well as five other Group or Grade 1 races during a sterling career, has been retired.

Godolphin Racing, Fantastic Light's owner, made the not-entirely unexpected decision on Tuesday night as the horse stood in his stall at Belmont Park awaiting either a flight to Tokyo for a second shot at the Japan Cup, or the trip back home to England.

Sheikh Maktoum al-Maktoum had the final call, and his decision was to send Fantastic Light, a 5-year-old son of Rahy, to Dalham Hall Stud, his brother Sheikh Mohammed's farm in Newmarket, where he will stand for a fee of 30,000 pounds ($43,500).

Bred at Sheikh Maktoum's Gainsborough Farm in Versailles, Ky., Fantastic Light goes to stud as one of the most successful Thoroughbreds of the last decade.

"He's had a fabulous campaign, and rather than go to the well once too often, it was decided to retire him," said Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager. "He had a lot of speed, but his strongest quality was his ability to quicken off a fast pace."

Originally trained for Sheikh Maktoum by Michael Stoute, Fantastic Light's best win at 3 came in the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes, in which he prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths over Bienamado with Gary Stevens aboard.

Fantastic Light was sent to Dubai, where Stoute engineered his victory in the then-Group 3 Dubai Sheema Classic in March 2000. After that, he was turned over to Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor.

An autumn trip to Belmont for the Man o' War proved successful, with Jerry Bailey in the irons. Although subsequently beaten in the Turf Classic, the Breeders' Cup Turf, and the Japan Cup, Fantastic Light prospered when returned to 10 furlongs, evidenced by his comfortable score in the Hong Kong Cup.

Fantastic Light kept improving with age. At 5 he won three Group 1 contests in Europe. First came the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Prince of Wales's Stakes. Then, in a memorable Irish Champion Stakes, he ended Galileo's unbeaten record with a heart-stopping performance after a stretch-long duel.

Briefly considered for the Breeders' Cup Classic, he vindicated Godolphin's controversial decision to send Sakhee in that race instead with his Breeders' Cup Turf triumph over Milan.

Fantastic Light won group or graded races in five different countries. In 25 lifetime starts, he won 12 times for earnings of $7,434,321. He has a virtually insurmountable lead for a second consecutive Emirates World Series title and a $1 million bonus.

He stands third on the earnings list of runners with at least one North American race.