, one of the nation's leading turf sires, has been pensioned from stallion duty at Gainesway Farm near Lexington because of declining fertility. The 23-year-old son Roberto has sired some 65 stakes winners, including Eclipse Award-winning grass filly Ryafan and several European champions.
"He remains in good health. It's just that his fertility was declining," said director of sales Michael Hernon.
"Lear Fan has been a source of pride for Gainesway," said farm president Antony Beck. "He had an outstanding career as both a racehorse and sire, and we have been honored to have him at the farm."
A group winner and classic-placed at a mile in England, Lear Fan stood his entire career at Gainesway since entering stud there in 1985. His champions not only include Ryafan, but also Canadian champion Chopinina and Windsharp and such prominent Europeans as Sikeston, Verveine, Lear White, Loup Solitaire, Tiraaz, and Melpomene.
As recently as 2002, Lear Fan ranked third by year-end North American turf earnings. His grass progeny earnings that year were $2.7 million, and his star runners included grade I winner Sarafan, who equaled a course-record in the Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT).
Lear Fan's career list of top North American turf winners includes grade I winners Labeeb and Dublino, plus graded winners Fanmore, Fantastic Fellow, and Super Fan. Overall, Lear Fan's runners have earned $41 million on both dirt and turf.
Lear Fan also has made a mark as a broodmare sire. Windsharp's son, Johar, deadheated for first in the 2003 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) and another of the mare's offspring, Dessert, was a grade I grass winner. Windsharp herself sold for $6.1 million at the 2003 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Lear Fan also is the maternal grandsire of this year's 3-year-old turf star Kitten's Joy.
Lear Fan, whose dam, Wac (by Lt. Stevens), is a full sister to the dam of Horse of the Year Alysheba, has sired the earners of $2.2 million for 2004. He is represented by 43 juveniles and 36 yearlings. His numbers for this year's breeding season were 49 mares bred and 20 pronounced in foal. His fee was $15,000.