Grade I winner, leading sire Seeking the Gold dies at age 31

Multiple Grade I winner and leading sire Seeking the Gold has died at the age of 31. He was euthanized July 28 from infirmities of old age, according to Claiborne Farm representative Bernie Sams.

“He will be sorely missed,” Sams said in a release. “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.”

Out of the Buckpasser mare Con Game, Seeking the Gold was foaled in Kentucky at Claiborne Farm in 1985. Trained by Shug McGaughey for breeder/owner Ogden Phipps, the son of Mr. Prospector, notched eight wins from 15 starts with his most notable triumphs coming when he captured the Grade I Dwyer Stakes and Grade I Super Derby during his 3-year-old season in 1988.

Seeking the Gold would go on to finish second to eventual Horse of the Year and future Hall of Famer, Alysheba, in the storied 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic and capped off his career with a runner-up finish in the 1989 Grade I Metropolitan Handicap.

After retiring with career earnings of $2,307,000, Seeking the Gold entered stud at Claiborne Farm in 1990 where he soon became one of the most influential sires of his generation.

Crowned the Leading Freshman Sire of 1993, Seeking the Gold rose to as high as second on the General Sire list behind the legendary Storm Cat in 2000. Among his 91 stakes winners were five champions — Dubai Millennium, Seeking the Pearl, Heavenly Prize, Flanders and Catch the Ring — and three Breeders’ Cup winners in Flanders (1994 Juvenile Fillies), Cash Run (1999 Juvenile Fillies) and Pleasant Home (2005 Distaff).

Grade I winners Bob and John, Dream Supreme, Cape Town and Jazil were among other notable stars sired by Seeking the Gold.

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

In November 2008, he was pensioned from stallion duty at the age of 24. During his career, Seeking the Gold stood for stud fees as high as $250,000.

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