03/09/2008 12:00AM

Pyro will stand at Darley


Pyro, a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby and three-length winner of Saturday’s Louisiana Derby, will retire to Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum’s Darley Stud at the end of his racing career, Darley announced Sunday.

Neither Darley nor the Pulpit colt’s owners, Winchell Thoroughbreds, specified in the announcement when Pyro would retire from the track. Last year, Darley struck similar private deals for the breeding rights to Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and runner-up Hard Spun and Haskell winner Any Given Saturday; all three retired at the end of their 3-year-old seasons.

Pyro has won both his starts so far this year, the Grade 3 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 9 and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. Last year, he concluded his 2-year-old season with a second-place finish to eventual juvenile champion War Pass in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; he also was runner-up to War Pass in the Champagne Stakes in 2007.

“To have our homebred Pyro retiring to Darley is extremely exciting,” Ron Winchell of Winchell Thoroughbreds said in the announcement. “Although we’re certainly a bit prejudiced about him, I really do think that the success he has shown on the track will follow him to the stallion barn.”

Pyro has won half his six career starts to date, finishing second twice and third once, and his earnings stand at $1,056,718. He is a son of the Wild Again mare Wild Vision and is his dam’s first stakes-winner.

Pyro’s next start is expected to be in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 12.

Steve Asmussen trains Pyro for Winchell Thoroughbreds, the stable of Ron Winchell and his mother Joan.