Stonestreet Stables’ & WinStar Farm’s Carpe Diem, Giant’s Causeway’s Grade 1-winning son at two and three, has been retired from racing due to a knee chip, and will stand stud in 2016 at WinStar Farm in Versailles, KY.
“Carpe Diem was a standout physical at the 2-year-olds-in-training sales, and quickly demonstrated his precocious speed, breaking his maiden at first asking as a juvenile at Saratoga,” said Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Farm. “His multiple Grade 1-winning performances at two and three were truly impressive. Carpe Diem offers breeders a great opportunity with conformation, speed, and stamina all packaged within an outstanding pedigree. We have enjoyed running the colt with the Troutt family, and look forward to standing him at their WinStar Farm where we will support him with some of our best mares.”
Elliott Walden, WinStar President & CEO, said: “Carpe Diem is as good as any young horse WinStar has ever been involved with, and it’s always bittersweet when you retire a colt of his quality, particularly knowing we likely never got to see his best. The positive is that he is an extremely exciting stallion prospect.
“In the Kentucky Derby, we were in perfect position, but when he switched leads going into the far turn I felt something wasn’t right,” added Walden. “After missing the Belmont, we brought him home to evaluate him and try to get him back for the Haskell. However, a chip finally revealed itself in the lower joint of his right knee, and that can be problematic. I believe his raw ability puts him among the top of this talented group of 3-year-olds, which is probably the best group of runners we’ve had in years. It’s unfortunate, but given where we’re at in the season and what would be in front of him, Mrs. Banke, John Moynihan, and I just felt like retirement was the best option.”
A $1.6 million sale topper at last year’s OBS March sale, Carpe Diem lived up to his reputation in his 2-year-old debut at Saratoga, overcoming the rail post position to draw away to a 2 ½-length win over eventual Grade 2 winner Ready for Rye. Carpe Diem hit the road for his second start, taking on Grade 1 company as the favorite in the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity S. (G1) at Keeneland, where he drew off impressively to a 6 ¼-length victory over Mr. Z and 10 other rival 2-year-olds. His win secured him a berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile S. (G1) at Santa Anita.
Off as the 9-5 favorite in the prestigious Juvenile, Carpe Diem rallied to be a good runner-up behind Texas Red after losing position on the far turn. He closed out his 2-year-old season with $709,800 in earnings, and entered 2015 as one of the winter-book favorites for the Kentucky Derby for trainer Todd Pletcher.
“The impressive thing about Carpe Diem, to me, is his ability to run 5 ½ furlongs in a tough maiden race at Saratoga and then stretch out to win Grade 1 races around two turns,” said Pletcher. “It is unfortunate his career ended so soon because I feel like he had more Grade 1 wins in him.”
Carpe Diem started his 3-year-old campaign in Florida, where he scored an authoritative five-length win in the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in 1:43.60 for 1 1/16 miles. He returned to Kentucky for his final Derby prep race in the $1 million Blue Grass S. (G1), where Carpe Diem scored yet another decisive, open-lengths victory. The multiple Grade 1 winner cruised to a three-length score and moved on to Louisville as one of the leading contenders for the Run for the Roses.
The Derby would be the final start for Carpe Diem, who retires with earnings of $1,519,800. He hails from the multiple Grade 1-producing Unbridled’s Song mare, Rebridled Dreams.
A stud fee for Carpe Diem will be announced at a later date. For more information about Carpe Diem, please contact Kyle Wilson, Sean Tugel, or Caroline Walsh at 859-873-1717, or visit WinStarFarm.com.