12/09/2016 6:57PM

Firing Line goes to stud at Crestwood Farm

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Barbara D. Livingston
Firing Line started only one race in 2016.

Firing Line, a Grade 3 winner and runner-up in the 2015 Kentucky Derby, will enter stud at Crestwood Farm in Lexington, Ky., for the 2017 breeding season at an advertised fee of $5,000.

The 4-year-old Line of David colt was retired in late November after nagging injuries and illness limited him to one start in 2016.

“He was an extremely talented racehorse,” said Pope McLean Jr., director and business manager of Crestwood Farm. “He had speed that could carry, and I think when people see him and really study him, they’re going to be very impressed with him.”

Owned by Arnold Zetcher and trained by Simon Callaghan, Firing Line finished his on-track career with two wins in eight starts for earnings of $976,000. He broke his maiden in his second start, then finished second by a head to Dortmund in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity to finish his juvenile campaign.

In 2015 Firing Line started his 3-year-old season on a familiar note, once again finishing a head behind Dortmund in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Callaghan then took the colt to New Mexico for the Grade 3 Sunland Derby, which Firing Line won by 14 1/4 lengths in a track-record 1:47.38 over 1 1/8 miles.

The Sunland Derby win clinched Firing Line’s stall in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished a begrudging second by a length to eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. He then finished seventh in the Preakness Stakes, and had his season cut short due to a bone chip in his ankle. He returned for one start at age 4, finishing off the board in a Santa Anita optional-claimer in July.

Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farm, Firing Line is out of the Grade 1-placed Hold for Gold mare Sister Girl Blues, whose two foals to race are both winners. Grade 2 winner Mint Lane and Grade 3 winner Sharp Azteca are in the extended family.

“We owned the granddam, Sister Girl, and we bred Mint Lane,” McLean said. “Sharp Azteca is in that family, and of course Firing Line, so we’d been following him for a while.

“We know [bloodstock agent] Ben McElroy, and Ben works with Mr. Zetcher very closely, and we know Don Robinson, who keeps the mares for him,” McLean continued. “We were talking to Ben in September and told him to keep us in mind, and that’s how we got going with it.”

McLean said the colt was not on the farm as of Friday, but he would arrive soon, and will be a focal point of Crestwood’s upcoming stallion show coinciding with the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale.

“I’d love for people to come see him, because I think they will be very impressed with him,” he said. “We’re going to try to come up with some interesting ideas to market him, and we’re going to work hard with him. We love him.”