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Champion juvenile Classic Empire retired to Ashford Stud

Pioneerof The Nile colt ran second in the Preakness Stakes

Classic Empire: son of Pioneerof The Nile is a three-time Grade 1 winner
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Classic Empire - last year's US champion two-year-old colt - has been retired from racing and will stand at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky in 2018.

"Unfortunately, we just ran out of time to get him to the Breeders' Cup Classic," explained trainer Mark Casse. "I could never get him completely over his foot abscess and it wasn't possible to train him the way I needed in order to bring him back at the highest level which is where he deserved to be."

A three-time Grade 1 winner, Classic Empire had a five-start juvenile campaign, culminating in success in the Futurity Stakes and Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

The Pioneerof The Nile colt also won the Arkansas Derby in April before contesting the Kentucky Derby, where he managed a creditable fourth. He then came agonisingly close to landing the second leg of the US Triple Crown when beaten just a head by Cloud Computing in the Preakness Stakes. 

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"Classic Empire was an exceptionally talented two-year-old," said Charlie O'Connor, director of sales at Ashford. "He broke his maiden over 4½f in early May and ended his juvenile campaign winning a very strong running of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

"Not only was he the champion two-year-old but he backed it up again this year with a Grade 1 win at three. His brilliance on the track is reinforced with a pedigree full of black type that traces back to Harlan's Holiday. We couldn't be more excited to be standing him."

Bred by Steven Nicholson and Brandi Nicholson, Classic Empire is a half-brother to stakes scorers Anytime Magic and Uptown Twirl, and is out of a daughter of the dual Grade 1-placed mare In Her Glory.

Classic Empire was picked up by owner John Oxley for $475,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, while his covering fee for 2018 will be announced at a later date.

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Not only was he the champion two-year-old but he backed it up again this year with a Grade 1 win at three
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