10/01/2012 4:17PM

Stay Thirsty to stand at Ashford Stud after one more race

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Tom Keyser
Stay Thirsty will race one more time this year and then stand at Ashford Stud next year.

Stay Thirsty, who emerged from the shadow of his more celebrated stablemate Uncle Mo to become a Grade 1 winner, will rejoin Uncle Mo in his next career as a stallion at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, owner Mike Repole said Monday.

Stay Thirsty, who ran a gutsy race when beaten a head by Flat Out in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, will race once more before being retired, Repole said. In no particular order, Repole said he and trainer Todd Pletcher are considering the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the BC Dirt Mile – both on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita – or the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile on Nov. 24 at Aqueduct for Stay Thirsty’s final race.

Stay Thirsty, a grand-looking son of Bernardini, has a record of 4-5-1 from 16 starts and earnings of $1,726,000.

At 2, he was second in the Grade 1 Hopeful. At 3, he won the Grade 3 Gotham, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy, and the Grade 1 Travers. He was second in the Belmont Stakes.

Though he is winless this year, Stay Thirsty set the pace and repelled three early challenges in the Jockey Club Gold Cup before getting passed in the final three strides by Flat Out. He earned a career-best Beyer of 109.

“No doubt the Travers was the highlight of owning Stay Thirsty, but the race that was the most impressive that he ever competed in by far was the Jockey Club Gold Cup,” said Repole, who will retain a minority ownership interest in Stay Thirsty. “He ran too good to be second.”

Repole said the $500,000 he spent to buy Stay Thirsty was the most he ever paid for a horse “and I got every penny of thrills from it,” Repole said.

Repole said that Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty were the two horses that put his stable on the map, and he’s happy to have them together again. Uncle Mo retired to Ashford last year.

“I hope I own a lot of good horses, but there’ll be no horses that mean more to me than Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty,” Repole said. “That they’re together again is just an amazing feeling. They couldn’t be on a better farm than Coolmore’s Ashford.”

Pletcher said: “To me, he has all the ingredients of some of the other successful stallions we have out there. He was a good 2-year-old, he’s tenacious, remarkably sound horse. If he’s able to pass on those genetics, it’s what you’re looking for as a trainer and as a breeder.”