Florida-bred grade I winner First Dude will stand the 2012 breeding season at Donald Dizney’s Double Diamond Farm near Ocala, Fla. A fee will be announced later.
“We plan to support his books with our best mares,” Dizney said about his homebred colt. “I believe Florida is the best place to breed and raise Thoroughbreds, and that’s why we made the decision to stand him in Florida.”
Four-year-old First Dude (Stephen Got Even —Run Sarah Run, by Smart Strike) won this year’s Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) at Hollywood Park, earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 106, as well as the Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs en route to career earnings of $1,442,140. Shortly after the Gold Cup came the news from trainer Bob Baffert that First Dude had suffered a strained tendon that forced his retirement.
Baffert had taken over the training of First Dude this year following the colt’s 3-year-old season in which he placed in five grade I events, including two classic races, while in the care of trainer Dale Romans.
“He is a big, solid, and smart horse,” Baffert said. “He is just beautiful. He is very balanced for a big horse. He was becoming a great horse. He was going to have a huge year. He is the best older horse in the country.”
First Dude last year ran second the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) and third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the Travers Stakes (gr. I), the IZOD Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I), and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
First Dude, a half brother to stakes winner Via Veneto, was named Florida’s champion 3-year-old male of 2010. First Dude exited racing with 13 top three finishes from 17 starts.