Empire Maker, whose Belmont Stakes (gr. I) win ended the Triple Crown threat of Funny Cide, has been retired from racing and will stand for a fee of $100,000 live foal at Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms near Lexington.
"Empire Maker is the best horse I have ever trained," said Bobby Frankel about the homebred Juddmonte colt by Unbridled. "We weren't within 10 lengths of seeing this horse's best race. With his prospects as a sire, considering his exceptional talent, extraordinary pedigree, and incredibly good looks, I want to be remembered as the trainer of Empire Maker in the same way that Horatio Luro's name is attached to Northern Dancer or Sunny Jim Fitzsimmon's name is with Bold Ruler."
Empire Maker's Belmont victory -- the first for Frankel in a Triple Crown event -- boosted Empire Maker above Funny Cide as the top 3-year-old among those ranked on the NTRA poll. Empire Maker earlier beat Funny Cide in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I). His other grade I win came in the Florida Derby (gr. I) by 9 3/4 lengths.
"From day one, he looked the part of a champion...so much so that many of us on the farm had a future book (Kentucky) Derby wager on him long before he started," said Dr. John Chandler, president of Juddmonte's North American operation.
Empire Maker, who finished second in the Derby, was runner-up in the Aug. 3 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) in what was his final start. He missed the Aug. 23 Travers Stakes (gr. I) because of an illness as well as the Sept. 27 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) due to a flare up of a foot injury that first surfaced around Derby time.
Empire Maker was retired with four wins and four placings from eight starts and earnings of $1,985,800. He is one of four grade I or group I winners from his dam, Juddmonte's homebred grade I winner Toussaud (by El Gran Senor), who also produced a grade II winner. Toussaud was named 2002 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year.
Earlier this year, Juddmonte suffered the loss of Empire Maker's millionaire half-brother Chester House from the stallion ranks. Empire Maker's fee matches that of Mineshaft as the highest for an incoming stallion.