Connect, winner of the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) last fall, has been retired because of a soft tissue injury and will enter stud at Lane's End Farm for 2018, it was announced July 11.
Owned by Paul Pompa Jr. and trained by Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown, Connect won six of his eight career starts, hitting his peak last year in the second half of his 3-year-old season. The son of Curlin rebounded from a sixth-place run in the Travers Stakes (G1) last August to capture the Pennsylvania Derby (G2), besting a field that included eventual grade 1 winners Gun Runner and Cupid as well as classic victors Nyquist and Exaggerator .
Connect closed out his sophomore campaign by defeating older horses in the Cigar Mile Nov. 26. Despite a more than six-month layoff, the dark bay colt romped during his seasonal bow May 6 when he won the Westchester Stakes (G3) by 4 3/4 lengths. He was prepping for a start in the June 10 Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (G1) when he suffered his injury.
"I've said it before, but of all the very good horses I've been fortunate to own, Connect is in another league," Pompa said. "Of course we're all very disappointed that he won't be able to run again, but I'm also looking forward to the next stage of his career. Lane's End has an exceptional record and I'm confident that the outstanding syndicate that's been put together will give him every chance for success."
Added Brown, "His return to the races this year showed just how good he is and how competitive he would have been in the toughest division in racing. He's an outstanding physical, with speed by a top sire. He's a very promising prospect."
Connect is out of the Holy Bull mare Bullville Belle, from the immediate family of Pompa's own grade 1 winner Backseat Rhythm. He retires with $1,370,000 in earnings.
"He's by a top-class sire that's one of the most commercially sought after stallions in the market," said Will Farish of Lane's End. "He will cross beautifully with A.P. Indy line mares, with which Curlin has had so much success with. He's an outstanding physical, very much akin to the successful stallions on our roster today.
"Paul Pompa has had a major racing stable for many years and I'm very happy he's entrusted us with the stallion career of Connect."