07/29/2016 1:10PM

Seeking the Gold euthanized at age 31

Barbara D. Livingston
Seeking the Gold, 31, was euthanized Thursday at Claiborne Farn.

Seeking the Gold, a Grade 1 winner and prominent sire at Claiborne Farm, was euthanized Thursday due to the infirmities of old age. He was 31.

The son of Mr. Prospector was a third-generation member of the Phipps family breeding program and raced as a homebred for Ogden Phipps throughout his career.

“We’re saddened by the loss of this magnificent racehorse and stallion,” said Daisy Phipps Pulito, granddaughter of Ogden Phipps. “He meant so much to my grandfather and the Phipps Stable breeding program.”

Seeking the Gold made one start at 2, winning on debut by 12 lengths at Hialeah Park in the final days of December for trainer Shug McGaughey. He then won his first three starts at 3, all at Gulfstream Park, culminating with a win in the Swale Stakes.

The colt was then moved to New York, where he finished second to Private Terms in both the Grade 2 Gotham Stakes and the Grade 1 Wood Memorial before finishing eighth in the 1988 Kentucky Derby. That would be the only time in 15 career starts in which he finished worse than second.

The second half of Seeking the Gold’s sophomore campaign included wins in the Grade 1 Dwyer Stakes and Grade 1 Super Derby, and the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes. He engaged in a pair of intense stretch battles with Forty Niner in successive races that summer during the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Stakes and Grade 1 Travers Stakes, but fell to his rival in both meetings by a nose.

Seeking the Gold’s 3-year-old campaign finished with a runner-up effort to Alysheba in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. He returned at 4 to win an allowance at Belmont Park and finish second in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap before being retired to Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., where he resided for the rest of his life.

“He was a very, very successful racehorse,” McGaughey said. “One of my all-time favorites. He gave 110 percent every time.”

Seeking the Gold finished his racing career with eight wins in 15 starts for earnings of $2,307,000.

He debuted at stud in 1990 and sired 19 crops, with 547 winners and combined progeny earnings in excess of $95 million. His foals were fast starters, helping him be crowned North America’s leading freshman sire of 1993 and leading juvenile sire of 1994.

Among Seeking the Gold’s 50 graded/group stakes winners are U.A.E. Horse of the Year Dubai Millennium, champions Heavenly Prize and Flanders, Canadian champion Catch the Ring, Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Pleasant Home, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Cash Run, and Grade 1/Group 1 winners Seeking the Pearl, Gold Tiara, Meiner Love, Dream Supreme, Bob and John, Secret Savings, and Cape Town.

Seeking the Gold was pensioned from stud duty in 2008. He stood for an advertised fee as high as $250,000 over the course of his stallion career.

“He will be sorely missed,” said Bernie Sams of Claiborne Farm. “There’s no doubt he will go down as one of the all-time greats. He was a valued member of the Claiborne Farm family and an important part of this farm’s storied 100-plus year history.”