Champion sprinter Cherokee Run euthanized at age 26

Pensioned stallion Cherokee Run, the champion sprinter of 1994, was euthanized due to declining health, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s Darley operation announced Saturday. The son of Runaway Groom was 26.

Cherokee Run entered stud at Jonabell Farm in 1996, then owned by the Bell family and stood as a Darley stallion after the farm was purchased in 2001 by Sheikh Mohammed. The dark bay stallion was represented by 53 career stakes winners, including champions War Pass and Chilukki. War Pass and Chilukki were both champion two-year-olds, with War Pass voted the top juvenile male of 2007 following his triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile while Chilukki earned her Eclipse Award in 1999 after winning the Grade I Del Mar Debutante and Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes.

Cherokee Run’s 16 other graded or group winners included Sean Avery, who became his sire’s last graded winner with victory in the 2011 edition of the Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. His progeny have earned almost $55 million to date.

“Cherokee Run was certainly a significant stallion at Jonabell in the 90s and early 2000s, but he also played a meaningful role in the farm’s transition when Sheikh Mohammed established Darley here in Lexington in 2001,” Godolphin president Jimmy Bell said. “He was a fierce competitor on the track, a real favorite in the barn.”

Bred in Florida by George C. Onett, Cherokee Run was out of the Silver Saber mare Cherokee Dame. Trainer by both Frank Alexander and Frank Gomez during his career, Cherokee Run won the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and also was victorious in the Grade II Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes, wins that were instrumental in him being named champion sprinter that season. Although his greatest strength was in sprint races, he also ran second in the 1993 Preakness Stakes.

Cherokee Run won four other stakes races during his career and was also placed in the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap, Grade I Carter Handicap and the Grade I Vosburgh Stakes. He retired with 13 wins from 28 starts and $1,531,818 in earnings.