Major sire Runaway Groom, who won a memorable Travers Stakes (gr. I), has been pensioned due to the infirmities of old age. The announcement was made by Vinery, the Lexington farm owned by Dr. Tom Simon where the 28-year-old son of Blushing Groom had stood since 1991.
“Runaway Groom has been a fixture on the leading sire lists for two decades,” said Vinery general manager Tom Ludt. “When it became apparent that his age was bothering him, we felt that we had to make the decision to retire him from stud duty.”
As a racehorse for Albert Coppola, Runaway Groom was one of the best and most versatile runners of 1982. After finishing second in the classic Queen’s Plate, he won the next two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown: the Prince of Wales and Breeders’ Stakes both on turf. In the Travers at Saratoga, he defeated all three of the year’s U.S. classic winners: Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Gato Del Sol, Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Aloma’s Ruler, and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Conquistador Cielo.
Runaway Groom was named champion 3-year-old male in Canada. He retired with six wins from 18 races and earnings of $347,537. He later was elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
At stud, Runaway Groom proved extremely consistent. He sired 70 stakes winners, including grade I winners Cherokee Run, Down the Aisle, Wekiva Springs, and The Groom Is Red. Cherokee Run, the 1994 champion and Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner, developed into an important stallion.
In 2007, Runaway Groom ranks 20th on the leading sires list. His career progeny earnings are $54 million.
Runaway Groom, who is out of the Call the Witness mare Yonnie Girl, was bred by Gardiner Farms. He will remain at Vinery.