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One of the oldest Kentucky Derby winners dies at 26. He was also the most expensive.

Fusaichi Pegasus, the winner of the 2000 Kentucky Derby who later became the highest-priced racehorse ever sold, died Tuesday at age 26.

Fusaichi Pegusas was retired from racing in 2000 and retired from stallion duties at Ashford Stud in 2020. The farm announced the horse was euthanized Tuesday due to the infirmities of old age.

“’Fu Peg’ was a fantastic racehorse and a colorful character,” Ashford Stud General Manager Dermot Ryan said in a news release.

Fusaichi Pegasus won the 2000 Kentucky Derby as the 2-1 favorite, finished second to Red Bullet in the Preakness and ended his career with a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs later that year.

The son of the great stallion Mr. Prospector was purchased as a yearling at Keeneland for $4 million by Japanese businessman Fusao Sekiguchi. That price remains the highest ever paid at auction for a horse that went on to win the Kentucky Derby.

Sekiguchi’s investment proved shrewd after the Run for the Roses, when Irish breeder Coolmore Stud bought Fusaichi Pegasus for a reported $70 million — at the time the highest price ever paid for a racehorse.

Fusao Sekiguchi bought Fusaichi Pegasus for $4 million as a 2-year-old and sold him for $70 million after his Kentucky Derby victory.
Fusao Sekiguchi bought Fusaichi Pegasus for $4 million as a 2-year-old and sold him for $70 million after his Kentucky Derby victory.

Fusaichi Pegasus split time between Ashford Stud in Woodford County and Coolmore’s breeding operation in Australia for the first decade of his stallion career.

He was the sire of champion Thoroughbreds in several different countries.

After the death of Fusaichi Pegasus, 20 living Kentucky Derby winners remain. The youngest is 2023 victor Mage, and the oldest is 29-year-old Silver Charm, who resides at Old Friends farm in Georgetown.

Fusaichi Pegasus was bred by Arthur Hancock and Bob and Janice McNair of Stonerside Farm.

Trained by Neil Drysdale, Fusaichi Pegasus won six races from nine career starts with career earnings of $1,994,400.

Fusaichi Pegasus was retired from stallion duty in 2020 and lived out his remaining days at Ashford Stud in Versailles.
Fusaichi Pegasus was retired from stallion duty in 2020 and lived out his remaining days at Ashford Stud in Versailles.

In 2000, he won the San Felipe Stakes and the Wood Memorial before finishing first in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Preakness Stakes. He did not run in the Belmont Stakes but returned to the track later that year to finish first in the Jerome Handicap and sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, his final race.

“He was a challenging horse to train, actually,” Drysdale told BloodHorse this week. “He was rambunctious and had a lot of energy. He was a horse who you had to do something different with every day. Most horses enjoy a routine and he did not.”

When he crossed the finish line first in a 19-horse field in the 2000 Kentucky Derby, Fusaichi Pegasus’ winning time was the seventh-fastest ever in the Run for the Roses. His time of 2:01.12 for the mile-and-a-quarter remains the 10th fastest in 2023.

“This guy, he’s a beast,” said winning jockey Kent Desormeaux after the race. “He’s just so powerful, yet he maintains his grace.”

Fusiachi Pegasus, the 2-1 post-time favorite, defeated Aptitude by 1 1/2 lengths and Impeachment by 5 ½.

Big for a colt at his age, Fusaichi Pegasus glided with remarkable fluidity.

“You would think he would lumber around the track,” Desormeaux said at the time. “Boom, boom, boom, like an elephant.”

But he did not.

“He maintains his elegance.”

Fusaichi Pegasus, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, won the 126th Kentucky Derby by a length and a half over Aptitude in 2000.
Fusaichi Pegasus, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, won the 126th Kentucky Derby by a length and a half over Aptitude in 2000.

Herald-Leader Staff Writer Ben Roberts contributed to this article.

There are 21 living Kentucky Derby winners. Here’s where they all are now.

How much does a Kentucky Derby horse cost? Here are the prices on this year’s contenders.

Kentucky Derby winners

Triple Crown winners in bold

2023: Mage

2022: Rich Strike

2021: Mandaloun-1

2020: Authentic

2019: Country House-2

2018: Justify

2017: Always Dreaming

2016: Nyquist

2015: American Pharoah

2014: California Chrome

2013: Orb

2012: I’ll Have Another

2011: Animal Kingdom

2010: Super Saver

2009: Mine That Bird

2008: Big Brown

2007: Street Sense

2006: Barbaro

2005: Giacomo

2004: Smarty Jones

2003: Funny Cide

2002: War Emblem

2001: Monarchos

2000: Fusaichi Pegasus

1999: Charismatic

1998: Real Quiet

1997: Silver Charm

1996: Grindstone

1995: Thunder Gulch

1994: Go for Gin

1993: Sea Hero

1992: Lil E. Tee

1991: Strike the Gold

1990: Unbridled

1989: Sunday Silence

1988: Winning Colors

1987: Alysheba

1986: Ferdinand

1985: Spend a Buck

1984: Swale

1983: Sunny’s Halo

1982: Gato Del Sol

1981: Pleasant Colony

1980: Genuine Risk

1979: Spectacular Bid

1978: Affirmed

1977: Seattle Slew

1976: Bold Forbes

1975: Foolish Pleasure

1974: Cannonade

1973: Secretariat

1972: Riva Ridge

1971: Canonero II

1970: Dust Commander

1969: Majestic Prince

1968: Forward Pass-3

1967: Proud Clarion

1966: Kauai King

1965: Lucky Debonair

1964: Northern Dancer

1963: Chateaugay

1962: Decidedly

1961: Carry Back

1960: Venetian Way

1959: Tomy Lee

1958: Tim Tam

1957: Iron Liege

1956: Needles

1955: Swaps

1954: Determine

1953: Dark Star

1952: Hill Gail

1951: Count Turf

1950: Middleground

1949: Ponder

1948: Citation

1947: Jet Pilot

1946: Assault

1945: Hoop Jr.

1944: Pensive

1943: Count Fleet

1942: Shut Out

1941: Whirlaway

1940: Gallahadion

1939: Johnstown

1938: Lawrin

1937: War Admiral

1936: Bold Venture

1935: Omaha

1934: Cavalcade

1933: Brokers Tip

1932: Burgoo King

1931: Twenty Grand

1930: Gallant Fox

1929: Clyde Van Dusen

1928: Reigh Count

1927: Whiskery

1926: Bubbling Over

1925: Flying Ebony

1924: Black Gold

1923: Zev

1922: Morvich

1921: Behave Yourself

1920: Paul Jones

1919: Sir Barton

1918: Exterminator

1917: Omar Khayyam

1916: George Smith

1915: Regret

1914: Old Rosebud

1913: Donerail

1912: Worth

1911: Meridian

1910: Donau

1909: Wintergreen

1908: Stone Street

1907: Pink Star

1906: Sir Huon

1905: Agile

1904: Elwood

1903: Judge Himes

1902: Alan-a-Dale

1901: His Eminence

1900: Lieut. Gibson

1899: Manuel

1898: Plaudit

1897: Typhoon II

1896: Ben Brush

1895: Halma

1894: Chant

1893: Lookout

1892: Azra

1891: Kingman

1890: Riley

1889: Spokane

1888: Macbeth II

1887: Montrose

1886: Ben Ali

1885: Joe Cotton

1884: Buchanan

1883: Leonatus

1882: Apollo

1881: Hindoo

1880: Fonso

1879: Lord Murphy

1878: Day Star

1877: Baden-Baden

1876: Vagrant

1875: Aristides

1-Mandaloun was declared winner after Medina Spirit was disqualified for using prohibited medication.

2-Country House was declared winner after Maximum Security was disqualified for interference.

3-Forward Pass was declared winner after Dancer’s Image was disqualified for using prohibited medication.