Gone West, a prominent sire while standing at Mill Ridge Farm near Lexington, will be pensioned after he finishes breeding this year. The 25-year-old son of Mr. Prospector has sired 98 stakes winners. His fee this year is $65,000.
“Regretfully, Gone West’s fertility has diminished drastically this year with only five mares in foal from 27 possibilities,” reports Headley Bell, managing partner at Mill Ridge Farm. “Towards the end of April, Dr. Dickson Varner, fertility specialist with Texas A&M, collected (semen from) Gone West, and the results indicated a significant deterioration in semen quality and sperm output in comparison with December 2008 and December 2007.
“We have a few mares who stayed on his book, so we are going to finish up this year and then retire him for the future. He has left his mark on the Thoroughbred breed, and it has been an honor to associate with him all these years. On behalf of my mother, Alice Chandler, and all of us at Mill Ridge, I would like to express our appreciation to all his shareholders and breeders who supported him.”
Chandler owns Mill Ridge with her husband, Dr. John Chandler.
Gone West entered stud at Mill Ridge following a racing career in which he won or placed in a dozen of 17 races and earned $682,251 for Hickory Tree Stable. He was bought for $1.9 million at the 1985 Keeneland July yearling sale.
Trained by Woody Stephens, Gone West won the Dwyer (gr. I), Gotham (gr. II), and Withers (gr. II) Stakes and placed in four graded stakes.
As a stallion, Gone West has sired such grade I winners as Speightstown , Da Hoss, Johar, Came Home, Commandable, and Grand Slam. Speightstown was voted 2004 champion sprinter after winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I). Da Hoss captured two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) in the 1990s, and Johar finished in a deadheat for first with European invader High Chaparral in the 2003 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT).
Gone West has carved out a branch of the Mr. Prospector sire line all his own, with such sons as Speightstown, Grand Slam, Mr. Greeley, Elusive Quality , Proud Citizen , and Johar currently at stud. Johar stands at Mill Ridge. Elusive Quality, sire of champion and dual classic winner Smarty Jones , was the 2004 leading sire by progeny earnings.
Bred in Kentucky by Dr. William O. Reed, Gone West was produced from the stakes-winning Secretariat mare Secrettame.