1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch has been euthanized at the age of 26 due to the infirmities of old age.
Coolmore America’s Ashford Stud announced the passing of the champion three-year-old and champion sire earlier this week.
Known for his toughness and fighting qualities, Thunder Gulch was the star of the 1995 Triple Crown races when he won the G1 Kentucky Derby, G1 Belmont Stakes and was third in the G1 Preakness Stakes in the colors of Michael Tabor. In addition to his classic wins Thunder Gulch also earned top-level victories in the G1 Florida Derby and G1 Travers Stakes which propelled him to the title of champion three-year-old male of 1995.
He was retired in October 1995 after fracturing the cannon bone of his offside foreleg in the Jockey Club Gold Cup in New York. Thunder Gulch won nine of 16 career starts and earned $2.9 million.
Retired to Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky, for the 1996 breeding season, Thunder Gulch went on to a successful stud career that was highlighted by a champion sire title in 2001 when his star performers included Horse of the Year and future Hall of Famer Point Given.
His other Grade 1 winners in the USA included Spain, Circular Quay, Balance, Tweedside, Shotgun Gulch, Sense of Style and J. B.’s Thunder. Thunder Gulch also left his mark on the international bloodstock scene when spending seasons in Australia, Japan, Argentina and Chile during his stud career.
“It is a very sad day for us here at Ashford as Thunder Gulch has been a pleasure to be around all these years and has left a major legacy at the farm as the first champion sire to reside here,” said Coolmore America manager Dermot Ryan.
“He had a remarkable three-year-old campaign in the hands of Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens and provided Michael and Doreen Tabor and their family with some great days. He was an incredibly tough and genuine horse on the track and we are very grateful to the Tabor’s for entrusting us with his stud career.
“I also want to say a special thanks to our stallion manager Richard Barry and his team for the exceptional care they have provided Thunder Gulch during his stud career and since he was pensioned from stud duties.”
Thunder Gulch was out of the Storm Bird mare Line of Thunder. His sire, Eclipse Award winner and 1988 Breeders’ Cup Sprint Champion Gulch, died at the age of 32 at the Old Friends retirement home in Kentucky in January 2016.