Voted Horse of the Year in 2003 and seventh favorite horse of all time by Racing Post readers, Persian Punch was attempting to win at Ascot for the first time in his career.
Champion European stayer Persian Punch died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack while making his 11-year-old debut in the Sagaro Stakes (Eng-III) at Ascot, according to The Racing Post. The gelded son of Persian Heights out of the Our Native mare Rum Cay, won 20 of 63 career starts, including 13 group stakes, and earned $1,539,149 in eight seasons of racing in four countries. David Elsworth conditioned him for Jeff Smith. His biggest wins came in the 2001 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (Eng-II).