Multiple-track record holder and Grade 1 winner Gayego lost a battle with colic at the age of 17, according to Bar None Ranches in Alberta, Canada, where the stallion had stood since his second year at stud in 2013.
“The first-year winner and millionaire was as kind as he was quick, and his loss is felt by everyone at Bar None Ranches,” the farm wrote on his Facebook page.
Hargus and Sandra Sexton raised Gayego in Kentucky from Lost Code winner Devils Lake. The colt was a son of the two-year-old champion male Eclipse golden time and was sold at Keeneland’s September 2006 yearling sale for $32,000 to Cubanacan Stables from the Warrendale Sales consignment.
Gayego won his debut by three lengths at the old Hollywood Park for Cubanacan and trainer Paulo Lobo and went on to set his first track record in the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita Parkwhere he stopped the clock in 1:13.07.
Two races later, he won the Arkansas Derby by three-quarter lengths. He would not be placed in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, then return to the West Coast where he would regroup and finish the 2008 season with another record 6 1/2-furlong, this time at Hollywood Park where he won in 1:13.37 and earned an Equibase speed figure of 116 for performance.
Godolphin bought Gayego and campaigned him in 2009-11. At 4, he won the Mahab Al Shimaal at the old Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai and finished second in the Godolphin Mile. He was sent back to the United States where he won the Ancient Title Stakes in the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet. At age five, he placed third in two other Class 1 races – the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the Triple Bend Handicap – and won the Almost Isle Mile Stakes in a record time of 1:34.90.
Gayego retired with an 8-4-2 record in 21 starts and earnings totaling $1,751,120. He joined Norse Ridge Farms stud in Ontario in 2012, then transferred to Bar None Ranches, where breeding manager Shaun Rathy managed the rest of his career.
It spawned 44 winners out of 83 starters, led by Sadie Diamond Futurity winner Spirit Bay and multiple winner Belvedere Taylorwho placed in the Supernatural Handicap.
“He loved running his father Gilded Time along the long fences when he arrived, never one to turn down a challenge or an opportunity to show off,” Bar None Ranches wrote of his father. “Later, due to his excellent calm temperament, he was able to live with ‘his mares’, enjoying his position watching the broodmares’ daily activities and socializing with anyone who stopped by for a visit.
“His foals were known for their calm, lovable personalities and reflected his large, caring eye and considerable size. The big black stallion with a heart of gold will be sorely missed by Shaun and his team, and by all who were lucky enough to have met him.”
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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 11:41 AM, SEPTEMBER 2, 2022
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