Big Pistol, who still holds the six-furlong track record of 1:08 3/5 at Churchill Downs 14 years after he set it, was euthanized on Oct. 17 at Terry and Loretta Brennan's Grayrock Farm near Hot Springs, Ark. The 19-year-old stallion had foundered the week before, and the decision was made to put him down.
Big Pistol (Romeo -- Missy Hadapa, by Whitesburg) scored his big win in the 1984 Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), but it was his track record at Churchill Downs set two years later that has stood the test of time. Especially since some of the world's top runners have taken a crack at it in four runnings of the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill.
Big Pistol initially raced for his breeder, H.E. Bishop, before he was acquired by W. Cal Partee. He captured a career total of 14 of 32 races, earned $558,521, and entered stud at John Franks and John Fernung's Southland Farm in Florida. He later stood at Mr. and Mrs. Brereton C. Jones' Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky., before being moved to Grayrock in the early 1990s.
Big Pistol is represented by eight stakes winners and the earners of $4.6 million. His top runner, Son of a Pistol, won this year's San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) and has earned $846,300. Big Pistol, who was owned at the time of his death by Partee's daughter, Jane, was bred to some 32 mares in 2000.