After winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and becoming one of the sport's top three-year-olds, Classic Empire is headed for retirement. The three-year-old colt who won more than $2.5 million in his career will stand at Coolmore America's Ashford Stud in Versailles, KY.
Classic Empire won 4 of 5 starts as a two-year-old, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, en route to being named the Eclipse Champion two-year-old. The colt's only failure to win as a two-year-old came in the Grade-1 Hopeful Stakes when he lost his rider in the early going.
After his success as a two-year-old, Classic Empire became one of the top contenders for the 2017 Kentucky Derby. He started the season with a third-place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes before winning the Arkansas Derby by a half-length. The colt finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby after a rough start before making his final start in the Preakness Stakes, which he lost by a head to Cloud Computing.
Classic Empire suffered injuries after the Preakness and never returned to racing. Trained by Mark Casse, the colt finished his career with a record of 5-1-1 from 9 starts.
“Unfortunately, we just ran out of time to get him to the Breeders’ Cup Classic,” Casse said in a press release. “I could never get him completely over his foot abscess and it wasn’t possible to train him the way I needed in order to bring him back at the highest level which is where he deserved to be. He’s an extremely talented horse that can do anything and he overcame a lot of adversity to achieve what he did. I still believe he was the most talented horse of his generation.”
Classic Empire, who is by Pioneerof the Nile and out of Sambuca Classica (Cat Thief), sold for $475,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September Sale in 2015. A stud fee has not yet been announced.
“Classic Empire was an exceptionally talented two-year-old,” Ashford’s Director of Sales Charlie O’Connor said in a press release. “He broke his maiden over 4½ furlongs in early May and ended his juvenile campaign winning a very strong running of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for which he earned a 102 Beyer speed figure. Not only was he the champion two-year-old but he backed it up again this year with a Grade 1 win at three. His brilliance on the track is reinforced with a pedigree full of black type that traces back to Harlan’s Holiday. We couldn’t be more excited to be standing him.”
For more information on Classic Empire and Ashford Stud, go to http://coolmore.com/stallions/classic-empire/?farm=america.