(Edited press release)
Empire Stud announced Aug. 27 that second-year stallion Sunriver has died at age 6 from what preliminary results indicate was either a heart attack or aneurysm.
A son of Saint Ballado, Sunriver scored his big win at 4 in the Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IT). He also won that year’s Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park. At 3, he won the 2006 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) and ran third behind Jazil and Bluegrass Cat in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Out of the Mari’s Book mare Goulash, Sunriver was a full-brother to dual champion racemare Ashado, who was a $9 million broodmare prospect at the 2005 Keeneland November mixed sale.
“It is a sad day for Empire Stud, a sad day for New York, and a sad day for all of the shareholders who so strongly supported the horse during his two years at stud,” said Jamie LaMonica, Empire Stud president.
Sunriver, who was raced as a homebred for Aaron and Marie Jones, retired with a record of 6-3-3 from 17 starts and earnings of $816,414.
According to officials at Empire Stud, located near Hudson, N.Y., Sunriver’s first foals (weanlings of 2009) exceeded expectations and are highly anticipated for both commercial appeal and racing ability.
Sunriver is expected to have approximately 150 foals from both the 2008 and 2009 breeding seasons.