Coolmore secure rights to stand Classic Empire upon his retirement
Owner John Oxley keeps breeding rights to champion two-year-old
Last year's leading US juvenile Classic Empire, who has run big races in the first two Classics, will stand at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky upon his retirement from racing.
Classic Empire is set to become the fifth Eclipse champion two-year-old on the Ashford roster, along with American Pharoah, Shanghai Bobby, Uncle Mo and Lookin At Lucky.
Classic Empire shares his sire, Pioneerof The Nile, with subsequent Triple Crown hero American Pharoah. He was bred by Steven and Brandi Nicholson out of the Cat Thief mare Sambuca Classica, a relation to champion three-year-old filly Revidere.
Trained by Mark Casse for John Oxley, Classic Empire won the Breeders' Futurity and Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year. This season he has taken the Arkansas Derby en route to a creditable fourth in the Kentucky Derby and a head second in the Preakness Stakes.
The deal for Classic Empire to stand at Coolmore was struck by the trainer's brother Justin Casse, who told the Bloodhorse: "Negotiations had started in the later part of 2016. Obviously he was a very sought-after horse, but Coolmore's development of its stallions is considered one of the best in the world.
“It is not always about the money, it is about the development of the horse and the prestige and track record of the farm."
Oxley will not retain any interest in Classic Empire after his retirement but will retain a number of breeding rights.