Johannesburg, who was last year's brilliant champion but this year's disappointment, has been retired and will stand at stud next year alongside his sire at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.
The 3-year-old Hennessy colt won all seven of his starts last year including the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). He was named champion juvenile male in North America, Britain, Ireland, and France. However, this year, Johannesburg failed to win in three starts. His trainer, Aidan O'Brien, attributed his lackluster races this year to the decision to point for the American Triple Crown.
"Unfortunately we made the mistake of aiming Johannesburg at the Kentucky Derby (gr. I)," O'Brien said. "The combination of training him on bad ground in our wet spring and trying to stretch his stamina too far just bottomed him out."
Racing for Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier, Johannesburg won four grade/group I races as a juvenile. He finished the year by taking the Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I), Prix Morny (Fr-I), Middle Park Stakes (Eng-I), and Juvenile.
His Breeders' Cup race was his first attempt past six furlongs. Johannesburg, under regular rider Mick Kinane, beat Repent by 1 1/4 lengths. In Eclipse Award voting, Johannesburg swept the voting by a wide margin.
Johannesburg made his first start as a 3-year-old at the Curragh in Ireland on April 7. He finished second, beaten a nose, in the Gladness Stakes (Ire-III). On May 4, he was sent off the 8-1 fifth choice in the Derby won by War Emblem. Johanessburg finished eighth, beaten 13 lengths.
Returned to Europe, Johannesburg made just one more start. At Ascot in England on June 22, he ran ninth, beaten 10 lengths, in the six-furlong Golden Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I).
Johannesburg was bred in Kentucky by Wayne Lyster III and the Jayeff B Stable of Richard Santulli and George Prussin. Foaled at Lyster's Ashview Farm near Versailles, Johannesburg was sold at the 1999 Keeneland November sale to Chestnut Valley Farm for $240,000. At the following year's Keeneland Keeneland September yearling auction, he was purchased by Demi O'Byrne as agent for Tabor and Magnier for $200,000.
No stud fee was announced for Johannesburg.