Leading sire Gone West euthanized

Leading stallion Gone West, sire of 98 stakes winners to date and the cornerstone of the Mill Ridge Farm breeding program, was euthanized on Monday because of complications from colic surgery.

The son of Mr. Prospector was 25. Gone West, who stood for $65,000 at Mill Ridge, was pensioned from stud duty after the 2009 breeding season.

Gone West began showing signs of distress Saturday morning and was taken to Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, where Dr. Bob Hunt performed surgery. Hunt removed a mass nearly the size of a football that had wrapped around the small intestine.

Although the stallion appeared to be recovering well Sunday, his intestine never opened up, and he grew more uncomfortable, prompting his connections to make the decision to put him down.

"We were all very fortunate to be touched by him. Truly, he was our flag bearer, and we've been fortunate to have a few flag bearers," said Headley Bell, managing partner for Mill Ridge Farm. "He was all class and will be sorely missed."

Bell added that Gone West was buried on the Lexington farm next to fellow top sire Diesis.

A Grade I winner on the track, Gone West established himself as an international force in the breeding shed. Included among his three champions are 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Speightstown, now a rising sire at WinStar Farm, and European champion Zafonic, winner of the 1993 Two Thousand Guineas.

In addition to siring Grade I winner Came Home; former Breeders' Cup Turf winner and current Mill Ridge sire Johar; and two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Da Hoss, Gone West achieved the enviable status as a sire of sires.

His son Mr. Greeley has become one of the top stallions on the Gainesway roster, siring more than 20 graded stakes winners to date. Other top sires by Gone West include Elusive Quality, sire of 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones, and Grand Slam, sire of more than 40 stakes winners.