Tabor's 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch dies aged 26
Thunder Gulch, winner of the 1995 Kentucky Derby for owner Michael Tabor and a retired leading sire for Coolmore, has died at the age of 26.
A tweet by Coolmore read: "It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Thunder Gulch due to the infirmities of old age. He was a champion on the track and at stud and will be greatly missed."
A star of the 1995 Triple Crown, the tough chestnut also won the Belmont Stakes and finished third in the Preakness Stakes, a series of performances which earned him the title of US champion three-year-old colt.
He was trained by Hall of Famer D Wayne Lukas, who also won the Preakness Stakes that season with Timber Country and remarkably won six Triple Crown races in a row, starting with Tabasco Cat's victory in the 1994 Preakness and ending with Grindstone's success in the 1996 Kentucky Derby. His 14 Triple Crown wins is a record.
Retired to Coolmore's Ashford Stud near Versailles, Kentucky for the 1996 breeding season, Thunder Gulch went on to have a highly successful stud career.
He was awarded the leading sire title in 2001, when his star performers included Horse of the Year and future Hall of Famer Point Given.
Perhaps his most important legacy will be the way he brought Tabor into partnership with John Magnier at Coolmore.
"It is a very sad day for us here at Ashford as Thunder Gulch has been a pleasure to be around all these years and has left a major legacy at the farm as the first champion sire to reside here," Coolmore America manager Dermot Ryan told the Blood-Horse.
"He had a remarkable three-year-old campaign in the hands of Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens and provided Michael and Doreen Tabor and their family with some great days.
"He was an incredibly tough and genuine horse on the track and we are very grateful to the Tabors for entrusting us with his stud career. I also want to say a special thanks to our stallion manager Richard Barry and his team for the exceptional care they have provided Thunder Gulch during his stud career and since he was pensioned from stud duties."
Thunder Gulch was pensioned from stud duties at Ashford Stud in 2015 and lived out the rest of his days at the farm.