Turf specialist and dual grade I-winning stallion Fastness died in July at Timber Ridge Farm near Felton, Pa., from the infirmities of old age, Timber Ridge owner Boggs Shoemaker said. The Irish-bred son of Rousillon was 23.
Bred in Ireland by Ballymacoll Stud Farm, Fastness was out of City Fortress, by Troy. David Smaga trained the colt, who raced as a homebred for Lord Weinstock, whose family owns Ballymacoll with the Sobell family.
The gray colt captured his debut, a weight-for-age event at Deauville in France, by 2 1/2 lengths and followed up with a three-length win in his next start in the Prix Herod at France's Evry Racecourse. In seven more starts abroad, Fastness came close but didn't win.
Evergreen Farms acquired Fastness and turned the 3-year-old over to trainer Jenine Sahadi. In 14 U.S. starts, Fastness was out of the money only three times.
Fastness won the Citation Handicap (gr. IIT), a performance in which he set the course record at the time; the Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT); the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile Stakes (gr. IIT), in which he equaled the course record; and two consecutive editions of Del Mar's Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) (1995-96). In 1995, the 5-year-old also registered a runner-up finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) behind Ridgewood Pearl.
During his career Fastness compiled a record of 9-6-1 from 24 starts and earned $1,581,165.
Fastness retired to stud in Kentucky in 1997 at Gainesway. He stood there for five years before moving to Pennsylvania, where he stood at several farms before arriving at Timber Ridge from Fox Tale Stud in December 2008.
"We had good support for him when he arrived (at Timber Ridge), and were able to book him to good mares," Shoemaker said. "He has always been in demand here and had a full book. He was one of the toughest horses I've ever handled."
Fastness was bred to nine mares in 2013. He sired 97 winners, including 2002 Canadian champion 3-year-old colt Le Cinquieme Essai.
"He threw babies that resembled him; had his head and face," Shoemaker said. "But he didn't breed particularly precocious 2-year-olds; most take a few years to develop. I own a few of his foals, and I'll be waiting to see how they grow."