Owner Arnold Zetcher announced Nov. 29 that Firing Line , one of the top 3-year-olds of his crop, has been retired from racing. The 4-year-old son of Line of David—Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold, won two of eight starts and $976,000. He is most remembered for his game second, beaten a length, to American Pharoah in last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
"Firing Line was by far the best horse I've ever owned," Zetcher said. "He gave us the thrill of a lifetime."
Stud arrangements have not been made.
Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farm, Firing Line sold for $65,000 as a 2012 Keeneland November weanling and $150,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale yearling the following year. Agent Ben McElroy purchased Firing Line for Zetcher for $240,000 at Keeneland’s April 2-year-old sale in 2014.
Trained by Simon Callaghan, Firing Line broke his maiden at second asking, then was second, beaten a head by Dortmund , in the grade I Los Alamitos Futurity in December 2014.
At 3 he was second to Dortmund again by a head in Santa Anita Park's Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III). Shipped to Sunland Park in New Mexico, Firing Line roared to a 14 1/4-length score in the nine-furlong, $800,000 Sunland Derby (gr. III), setting a track record of 1:47.39
Following his game runner-up effort at Churchill Downs, Firing Line was off the board in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He only made one start after the Preakness—a fifth-place run in a Santa Anita allowance in July of 2016.
“It’s the same soft tissue strain that came to light after the Preakness,” Callaghan said of the physical issue that led to Firing Line's retirement.
Jeremy Balan contributed to this article.