Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gone West heads off into the sunset

This afternoon comes the sad news that Gone West, a tremendous racehorse and an even better sire, has been euthanized due to complications from colic surgery.

The 25-year-old son of Mr. Prospector out of Grade 3 winning mare Secrettame (Secretariat-Tamerett, by Tim Tam) won six of 17 lifetime starts including the Dwyer H.-G1 for $682,251. Mill Ridge Farm, where he stood his entire career, most recently for a fee of $65,000, had already announced in May that Gone West would be pensioned at the end of this breeding season due to "drastically" declining fertility.

It's a shame he won't be able to live out a long retirement.

Gone West was the product of splendid breeding. Not only was his sire one of the nation's most potent stallions of the 1970s and 1980s and his dam a graded stakes winner, but talent was widespread throughout his female family.

Gone West's full brother, Lion Cavern, was a multiple graded stakes winner of $447,214 who ran on both dirt and turf, in both the U.S. and Europe. His dam Secrettame was a half-sister to English champion 3-year-old Known Fact, multiple G1-winner Tentam, Grade 2 winner Terete and Tremont Stakes winner Tamtent. Her half-sister Taminette was dam of multiple G1-winning filly Tappiano, stakes-winning millionaire and sire A. P Jet, and minor stakes winner My Earl. Half-sister Kind Hope was dam of Explosive Count, who earned $507,542 the hard way with only one minor stakes win but 24 victories from 88 lifetime starts.

True to his family's brilliant and diverse racing history, Gone West could get you almost any kind of horse -- plenty of them winners. He sired sprint champion Speightstown, but also Zafonic, who collected a fistful championships in Europe running on grass. Son Commendable won the Belmont Stakes at 12 furlongs on dirt and son Da Hoss twice won the Breeders' Cup Mile-G1 on the lawn.

RIP, Gone West, a special horse who has given us so many more special horses, including 98 stakes winners. Certainly, after your passing, the sons and daughters you've left behind will carry that number to 100 and beyond.


  1. A very nice tribute.

    While not one of his most successful sons on the track, my personal favorite Southwestern Heat—son out of the incomparable Xtra Heat—is now at stud in Australia, so Gone West’s influence will finally be felt Down Under.

  2. You could have knocked me over with a feather this morning when I saw The Dispatch!!! :-)

  3. Nicely written, sir. Nicely written.

  4. Whenever I looked at a conformation photo of him, I saw a dark bay version of his incomparable grandpa.

  5. My most lasting memory of Gone West as a racehorse was Jim McKay on an ABC sports touting him for a future Belmont Stakes telecast.

    In 1987, Gone West was supposed to be another peg in Woody Stephens' string of Belmont Stakes winners. Winner #6 in a row.

    In case anyone missed the press release,
    that did not happen. But what a 3 year old crop that was. They just don't make 'em like they used to.


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