09/07/2009 11:00PM

Gone West dead at 25

Barbara D. Livingston
Gone West won the Grade 1 Dwyer in 1987, and sired 2004 sprint champ Speightstown.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Gone West, a Grade 1 winner and a leading sire, died Monday at age 25 after colic surgery.

A son of Mr. Prospector, Gone West had been pensioned after his 2009 breeding season at Mill Ridge farm here, where he stood for $65,000. He is the sire of 2004 sprint champion and popular young sire Speightstown among numerous other Grade 1 winners.

Gone West was euthanized Monday at about 6 p.m., according to Mill Ridge's Headley Bell. The horse had undergone colic surgery at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute on Saturday to remove a lipoma, a mass attached to a cord that had wrapped around his small intestine. A Hagyard surgeon, Dr. Robert Hunt, removed the lipoma without removing any intestine, and initially Gone West appeared to be recovering, though he had an elevated heart rate and reflux of liquid that would not pass through the small intestine, Bell said. But when the intestine failed to open properly to allow passage of liquid and the stallion's discomfort grew, the farm decided to put Gone West down on humane grounds.

Gone West won the 1987 Dwyer to earn his Grade 1 winner status. A leading 3-year-old that year, he also won that season's Grade 2 Gotham and Withers Stakes. He finished second in the Wood Memorial, Peter Pan, and Hutcheson, was third in the Fountain of Youth, and finished fourth in the Whitney. He won 6 of 17 lifetime starts and earned $682,251.

Gone West sired more than 95 stakes winners, including the 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner, Speightstown, two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Da Hoss, multiple Grade 1 winner Came Home, European juvenile champion Zafonic, German champion Royal Abjar, Grade 1 winner Marsh Side, and many other high-level performers.

He also is the sire of such well-known sires as Elusive Quality, who got 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones. Gone West also sires Grand Slam and Mr. Greeley.

From 19 crops of racing age, Gone West so far has progeny earnings of nearly $79 million.

"On behalf of my mother, Alice Chandler, and everyone at Mill Ridge, I want to thank everyone for their support of Gone West over the years," Bell said. "It is a privilege to associate with such a classy horse, and he has left a lasting legacy. He has been buried next to Diesis at Mill Ridge Farm."