01/29/2015 4:08PM

Thunder Gulch pensioned in Kentucky

Asuncion Pineyrua photo/Courtesy of Ashford Stud
Champion, classic winner, and classic sire Thunder Gulch will live as a pensioner at Coolmore's Ashford Stud.

Champion, classic winner, and classic sire Thunder Gulch has been pensioned at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. The son of Gulch is 23.

Thunder Gulch won the Remsen Stakes and placed in two other graded stakes events as a juvenile, including a runner-up effort in the Hollywood Futurity. He launched his 3-year-old campaign with narrow victories in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Florida Derby; however, a fourth-place effort in the Blue Grass Stakes made him a longshot in the Kentucky Derby. He scored by 2 1/4 lengths, returning $51 for the victory. After finishing third in the Preakness Stakes, he returned to capture the Belmont. The latter was the first in a four-race win streak that continued with the Swaps Stakes, Travers Stakes, and Kentucky Cup Classic. However, Thunder Gulch finished fifth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup behind Cigar and was retired with a fracture. In all, he won 9 of 16 starts, bankrolling $2,915,086.

Thunder Gulch is the sire of 1,273 winners from 1,901 starters – a 67 percent strike rate – with 97 stakes winners through Jan. 28. His progeny have combined to bankroll $90,480,064.

He sat atop the general sire list in 2001, when his most accomplished son, Point Given, won the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Haskell Invitational, Travers Stakes, and Santa Anita Derby to earn Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male honors. Point Given, who bankrolled more than $3.9 million, was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 2010. He currently stands at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky., and is the sire of Canadian champions Sealy Hill and Points of Grace, as well as Grade 1 winners Coil, Go Between, and Point Ashley.

Thunder Gulch’s daughter Spain won the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Distaff; at the time of her retirement, she was North America’s leading female money winner, with earnings of $3,540,542. The stallion’s other top runners included Grade 1-winning millionaires Balance and Circular Quay; additional Grade 1 winners Tweedside, Shotgun Gulch, and Sense of Style; Australian Oaks winner Tempest Morn; top steeplechaser Spy in the Sky; Tato Zeta, a champion in Venezuela; Top Lightning, a champion in the Dominican Republic; and Singapore Gold Cup winner Recast.

Out of the Group 1-placed Storm Bird mare Line of Thunder, Thunder Gulch is a half-brother to Japanese Group 3 winner and sire Battle Line. Line of Thunder's dam is English and Irish champion Shoot a Line.