Gibson County, one of the surprise first-crop stallions of 2006, died the morning of March 12 of an apparent heart attack, according to Wire to Wire. The 11-year-old stallion stood at Michael O’Farrell’s Ocala Stud Farms near Ocala, Fla.
Gibson County was owned by Luke McKathan and his two sons, J.B. and Kevin, in partnership with Mike Pegram, who bred and raced the son of In Excess.
Trained by Bob Baffert in California, Gibson County excelled at sprinting, winning three stakes and placing in eight others and earning a career total of $376,465. Following his retirement, he was sent to Luke McKathan’s farm near Reddick, Fla. Pegram intended to make Gibson County into a cutting horse, but McKathen convinced him that Gibson County deserved a chance at stud.
Gibson County, who entered stud in 2003, was the nation’s leading first-crop sire during the early part of 2006. He finished the year with six winners from 14 foals, including Hollywood Park stakes winner Genuine Talent. He was relocated for the 2007 season to Cloverleaf Farms II in Florida, where he was bred to 107 mares.
Gibson County’s runners this year include American County, who won the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks and was graded stakes-placed last year. Gibson County was produced from the stakes-winning Winrightt mare Miss Gibson County.