Multiple grade I winner Ron the Greek, who blew away the field by 6 3/4 lengths in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational Stakes (gr. I) in his most recent start, has been sold to an undisclosed buyer overseas according to former owner Adam Wachtel.
Further details were kept confidential regarding the deal for the 6-year-old son of Full Mandate, who earned $2,704,691 from 29 starts with a 9-5-3 record, including victories in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) and the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in 2012. Ron the Greek raced for Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable, breeder Jack Hammer, and Gary Barber.
The big bay was to contest the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park as the 8-1 fourth choice on the morning line for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, but was declared from the race Oct. 31 with a quarter crack in his right front hoof.
"After the Gold Cup we had so many inquiries; last year we debated selling him and we had some pretty interesting offers, but we just felt if we could keep him sound and pick up the right spots for him, there might be some opportunities to pick up some big races," Wachtel said.
In 2013 Ron the Greek won the Jan. 19 Sunshine Millions Classic Stakes by 11 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park. He finished fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap, was third in the Charles Town Classic Stakes (gr. II) and the Stephen Foster, ran fourth in the Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I), and was fourth in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I). He then jumped up with his Jockey Club Gold Cup win Sept. 28 at odds of 21-1.
"It really has been an interesting ride," Wachtel said. "From day one when we bought him, I really felt he was a grade I-quality horse. He'd shown so many signs of it. He's the perfect Thoroughbred physically; people who have seen him said he might be the best-looking horse they've ever seen. It's not a beauty contest, but to have that big engine he's got and that big body...Bill's done a great job of keeping him sound."
Among his other victories, Ron the Greek counts the 2010 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III), which he won as a 3-year-old when trained by Tom Amoss. He was also briefly trained by Tom Albertrani, but found the winner's circle again after moving to Mott's stable. After landing listed stakes victories at Aqueduct Racetrack in 2011, he really came into his own in his 5-year-old year. In addition to his multiple grade I scores in 2012, he was runner-up in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) and the Whitney, along with a sixth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and a fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
"He's been very good to me and Bill and to my partners," Wachtel said. "I look at horses every day trying to find one like him; he's going to be tough to replace. Bill said when he was interviewed after the Gold Cup that he didn't feel there was a horse on the planet that could have beaten Ron the Greek that day, and I agree. On his day, he was as good as anybody."
Ron the Greek was bred in Florida by Hammer out of the Fortunate Prospect mare Flambe'. He is currently in Florida but is expected to head to quarantine to ship overseas.
"I believe they're talking about maybe pointing him to the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I)," Wachtel said. "I'd hoped they would leave the horse with Bill and give him a chance because he's done such a good job with Ron the Greek, but I don't think so now. It is our understanding they're going to race him with an eye on making him a stallion."