Learn more about the famous racehorse that won the 2000 Kentucky Derby and sold for a record-breaking $70 million in the same year, before passing at the ripe age of 26 in 2023.
Many of society’s wealthy have long enjoyed the spectacle of horse racing for a variety of reasons. The thrill of placing hefty bets on horses and their jockeys is one, and the excitement from watching the high-adrenaline sport is another. Certain individuals have even invested a considerable amount of money into breeding, raising, and training champion equines.
The cost of a racehorse will depend on its conformation and pedigree, though on average, these prized steeds can fetch five to eight-digit figures each. Studding service fees can also increase if the horse is a reputable champion.
The equine that best exemplifies this is the Fusaichi Pegasus, a thoroughbred stallion that sold for $70 million at auction. That’s around the same price as a classic collector’s car like the 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO. But why the steep price for just one horse?
Raising a Legend
Fusaichi Pegasus was no ordinary foal, since his father was the renowned Mr.Prospector—a thoroughbred stallion that won seven out of 14 starts and sired many prized stallions throughout his life. Five horses from the top 10 sire list of 2022 were all descendants of the legendary equine, as reported by Thoroughbred Daily News.
Fusaichi Pegasus was born on April 12, 1997 in Stone Farm, under the care of Arthur Hancock, as well as Bob and Janice McNair of Paris’ Stonerside Farm. Hancock gave him the nickname “Superman,” which turned out to be a precursory prophecy in itself.
Fusao Sekiguchi purchased the young horse for $4 million in 1998, giving him a new nickname that fused “Fusao” with the Japanese “ichi” (which translates to “first”). Sekiguchi completed the name with “Pegasus,” inspired by the immortal, winged horse from Greek mythology. This would lead caretakers and fans to affectionately refer to the stallion as “Fu Peg.”
The horse’s mighty name encapsulated his legacy, as Fusaichi Pegasus ended up winning the prestigious Kentucky Derby in 2000, thanks to training from the renowned Neil Drysdale. The stallion was the first favorite to accomplish this feat since Spectacular Bid in 1979.
Fusaichi Pegasus would go on to win six of his nine starts, according to Bleacher Report. AP News added that upon his retirement in 2000, he earned a grand total of $1.9 million.
Coolmore at Ashmore Stud eventually purchased the winning equine for a record-breaking $70 million. The horse had a prolific and successful stud career, siring six worldwide champions and Grade One winners like Bandini, Haradasun, Roman Ruler, and Champ Pegasus.
Remembering the Champion
Fusaichi Pegasus was pensioned from his stud duties in 2000, and spent the remainder of his years under the care of Ashmore. His eventful life eventually came to an end on May 23, 2023. The champion stallion passed away at the ripe age of 26, as he was euthanized due to age-related health complications.
“’Fu Peg’ was a fantastic racehorse and a colorful character,” shared Dermot Ryan, the general manager of Ashford Stud, in a news release regarding the horse’s passing. “I would like to thank Richard Barry and all of his team, past and present, for providing the highest level of care for him throughout his time at Ashford.”
Banner photo from the Coolmore website.