Gone West – A Potent Pedigree

Gone West 2

Gone West is one of Mr. Prospector’s best looking sons, a grade one stakes winner, and was a very successful sire. His dam is Secrettame, a daughter of the immortal Secretariat and Tamerett. Tamerett, by champion Tim Tam, is a foundation mare who is the ancestress of not only Gone West, but also Tentam, Known Fact, Terete, A.P.Jet, Tappiano, and Lord Cavern, full brother to Gone West. Tamerett is a direct female line descendant (fourth generation) of influential broodmare Aloe.

Bred by Dr. William O Reed, Gone West was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. James Mills, who raced under the banner of the Hickory Tree Stable, for $1.9 Million at the Keeneland summer yearling sales in 1985. He proved the big price to be money well spent and an eventual bargain. Trained by the legendary Woody Stephens, Gone West was a winner as a two year old. Stephens was impressed with the colt and prepared him for the upcoming three year old classic season.

The three year old crop that year was a very deep line-up that included Gulch, Capote, Bet Twice, Polish Navy, Java Gold, Alysheba and Leo Castelli. Gone West won a pair of allowance races in Florida and then ran second in the grade three Hutchison Stakes and third in the grade two Fountain of Youth Stakes. Shipped back to New York, Gone West captured the grade two Gotham Stakes over Gulch and Capote, but Gulch returned the favour in the grade one Wood Memorial beating Gone West by a head.

Gone West skipped the Derby and Preakness and stayed in New York where he won the grade two Withers Stakes and finished second to Leo Castelli in the Peter Pan. Gone West entered in the Belmont but could only manage a sixth placing to Bet Twice. This race confirmed his distance limitations.

The dark bay son of Mr. Prospector regained his winning ways in the grade one Dwyer Stakes with a resounding twelve and one half lengths victory in the nine furlong event. His subsequent races in the Whitney, Woodward and Vosburgh completed his racing career with unplaced finishes. Gone West was then retired from the track and took up residence at Mill Ridge Farm in Kentucky to begin what would turn out to be a highly successful stud career.

Since Gone West had displayed good miler speed, plus the fact that his pedigree was first class, he was highly regarded by many top breeders in Kentucky. Breeder were right in their assessment as Gone West sired one-thousand two-hundred and sixty-three named foals, of which one-hundred and one became stakes winners by the time he completed his stud career. His hall mark on his get was blinding miler speed. Furthermore he became a very consistent sire of sires with many of his sons carrying on the tail male line. He has been one of the most successful sire of sires in recent memory, as well shall see.

As a sire he got progeny that exceeded his racing accomplishments. Among these excellent runners are Da Hoss (Breeder’s Cup Mile twice), Johar (Breeder’s Cup Turf, Hollywood Derby etc), Lassigny (Canadian International), Marsh Side (Canadian International, Northern Dancer Stakes), Commendable (Belmont Stakes), Came Home (Hopeful Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, Pacific Classic), Royal Abjar (German 2000 Guineas), and West By West (Nassau County Stakes, Widener Handicap).

Elusive Quality has been one of the best sons of Gone West at stud. On the track he did not become a stakes winner until he was a five year old, winning the grade three Jaipur and Poker Handicaps, both of which are grass events. He has stood at Darley America Stud in Kentucky since 1999 and has forged himself a wonderful career as a sire of very good speed oriented horses on any racing surface. His claim to fame is as the sire of champion Smarty Jones (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, etc), whose big year in earnings would vault Elusive Quality to the top of the leading sires list in 2004.

Other top runners by Elusive Quality are, Raven’s Pass (Breeder’s Cup Classic, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes), Elusive City (Prix Morny), Quality Road (Florida Derby, Woodward Stakes, Donn Handicap, Metropolitan Handicap), Sepoy (Golden Slipper, Blue Diamond Stakes, Ascot Vale Stakes), Certify (Shadwell Fillies Mile), Elusive Kate (Prix Marcel Boussac, Prix Rothschild twice, Falmouth Stakes), and Maryfield (Ballerina Stakes, Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Sprint). Elusive Quality has sired eighty-two stakes winners in the northern hemisphere and twenty-eight stakes winners shuttling to the southern hemisphere.

Western Winter was a minor stakes winner but became a major influential sire in South Africa. Standing at Lammerskraal Stud for his entire stud career, Western Winter became a revelation in his adopted land. He is a direct female line descendant of Windfields Farm’s foundation mare Nandi (sixth generation), through the excellent broodmare Chilly by Nearctic. His dam Chilly Hostess is inbred to Nearctic 3×3 as her sire is Vice Regent.

At the time of his passing, age twenty-one on September 12, 2013, Western Winter had sired seventy-five stakes winner of which twenty-one have won at the group one level. This impressive list in includes two South African Horse of the Year winners in Yard-Arm and Winter Solstice, as well as group one winners Fearless, Argonaut, What A Winter, Set Fire, Reveille Boy, Nania, Fair Maiden, Capetown Noir,  and Lady Windermere. His sons are carrying on the tradition of siring top class runners and his daughters are producing group one winners from a variety of different male line suitors.

Another top class sire sired by Gone West is Mr. Greeley. Winner of three grade three races and a second place in the 1995 Breeder’s Cup Sprint, Mr. Greeley made an impressive mark at stud beginning at Dixiana Farm in 1996, moving to Spendthrift in 2001, and on to Gainesway in 2006. He passed away in 2010 from laminitis. To date he has sired sixty-six stakes winners. There are still many of his get still competing today, as his final crop are four year olds at time of writing.

Among the top offspring of Mr. Greeley are Finsceal Beo (English and Irish 1000 Guineas), Miss Kounikova (Oakleigh Plate), El Corredor (Cigar Mile), Reel Buddy (Sussex Stakes), Whywhywhy (Futurity Stakes), Celtic Melody (Distaff Stakes), Aruna (Spinster Stakes), Nonsuch Bay (Mother Goose Stakes), Western Aristocrat (Jamaica Handicap), and Horse Greeley (Del Mar Futurity). Mr. Greeley was an easy going fellow who was well liked during his eighteen year life.

Moving on to more sons of Gone West, let us now look at the very handsome Grand Slam. A dark bay out of Bright Candles by El Gran Senor, Grand Slam was a $300,000 yearling purchase who would go on to have a hard knocking career in racing. He won the Belmont Futurity and the Champagne Stakes as a two year old and then the Peter Pan Stakes at three. He placed second in three grade one races later that year including the Breeder’s Cup Sprint.

Grand Slam retired to Ashford Stud, the American division of the giant Coolmore breeding empire, in Kentucky. Here he would sire Canadian champions Grand Adventure (Summer Stakes, King Edward Stakes, Connaught Cup), and Leigh Court (Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, Ontario Colleen Stakes). Other top class horses sired by Grand Slam are Cajun Beat (Breeder’s Cup Sprint), Café Olympus (Japan Dirt Derby), The Lumber Guy (Vosburgh Stakes), Visionaire (King’s Bishop Stakes), Limehouse (Brooklyn Handicap, Tampa Bay Derby), and Strong Hope (Jim Dandy Stakes). Grand Slam died on March 31, 2012 of heart failure. His final foal crop is now two years old. His total stakes winners so far stands at eighty-one stakes winners, a number which will likely rise, when all is said and done.

Next stop on the Gone West train is Speightstown. Here we have one of the hottest sires currently active today. A bright chestnut with a white star on his forehead and one white sock, Speightstown was raced by leading Canadian owner Eugene Melnyk, and did not win his first stakes race until he was a six year old, in 2004. A series of nagging ailments would prevent Speightstown from showing his true talent. But, boy did he make up for lost time that year.

Speightstown reeled off victories in four stakes races, three of which were grade two races, finished third in the grade one Vosburgh Stakes and then score his biggest win in the Breeder’s Cup Sprint. He was retired following that important win to WinStar Farm in Kentucky, where he has been one of the top sires in the past few years with progeny that have won big races all around the world.

Speightstown has sired Golden Ticket (Travers Stakes), Haynesfield (Jockey Club Gold Cup, Suburban Handicap), Reynaldothewizard (Dubai Golden Shaheen), Essence Hit Man (two time champion sprinter in Canada), Dance To Bristol (Diana Handicap), Jersey Town (Cigar Mile), Seek Again (Hollywood Derby), Lord Shanakill (Prix Jean Prat), Poseidon’s Warrior (Vanderbilt Handicap), Lighthouse Bay (Prioress Stakes), Munnings (Woody Stephens Stakes, Tom Fool Handicap), Fast Bullet (True North Handicap), Bridgetown (Summer Stakes), Babak Chinta (Norfolk Stakes) and Delegation (Dominion Day Stakes). These are just some of the sixty-two stakes winners Speightstown has sired from only seven crops to race.

A pair of brothers sired by Gone West, Zafonic and Zamindar, were bred and raced by Prince Khalid Abdullah, the proprietor of the very expansive and successful Juddmonte Farms. The dam of these two is Zaizafon by The Minstrel.

Zafonic was foaled in 1990 and he became a champion two year old in Europe with victories in the prestigious Dewhurst Stakes, Prix Morny, and the Prix de la Salamandre. He added the 2000 Guineas the following year to his list of triumphs. He would sire Xaar (European champion two year old), Count Dubois (Gran Criterium), Zafeen (St. James Palace Stakes), Iffraaj (Park Stakes), and Trade Fair (Criterion Stakes, The Minstrel Stakes). Zafonic died at the age of twelve in a paddock accident in Australia, just after arriving there to serve his first season as a shuttle sire.

Zamindar did not have as stellar a racing career as his brother, but he did have a very productive career as a sire, plying his trade at Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud in Suffolk, England. He was particularly good at siring high class fillies including the unbeaten wonder girl Zarkava. Bred by the Aga Khan IV, Zarkava won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Poules d’Essai des Pouliches, Prix de Diane, Prix Vermeille, and the Prix Marcel Boussac. She was seven for seven in her career, topped off with a European Horse of the Year title in 2008.

Other grade/group one stakes winners sired by Zamindar are Darjina (Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, Prix du Moulin and Prix d ‘Astarte), Zenda (Poule d’Essai des Pouliches), Coquerelle (Prix Saint-Alary), and Timepiece (Falmouth Stakes). Zamindar was retired from breeding in 2013 due to declining fertility and is currently living the life of an honoured pensioner at Banstead Manor Stud.

This is quite a list of successful sire sons by one stallion. Gone West is truly recognised as an elite sire of sires, the most noteworthy accomplishment for any stallion. As a sire of stakes producing broodmares, he has certainly added to his list of achievements. In fact there are currently one-hundred and twenty-five stakes winners from mares sired by Gone West.

His daughter Precious Feather is the dam of Awesome Feather, a winner of ten races from eleven starts (Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies, Gazelle Stakes). Tempo is the dam of Union Rags (Belmont Stakes, Champagne Stakes), Violent Beauty produced Violence (Cash Call Futurity), while Out West is the mother of Motivator (Epsom Derby, Racing Post Trophy, Dante Stakes). Additional grade/group one stakes winners from daughters of Gone West include Game Face (Princess Rooney Handicap), Healthy Addiction (Santa Margarita Invitational), Brilliant Speed (Blue Grass Stakes), and Leading Light (St. Leger Stakes, Ascot Gold Cup).

Gone West is perhaps the most productive son of the legendary Mr. Prospector to stand at stud. That is saying a lot as there is a large amount of great sire sons Mr. Prospector sired that had very successful stud careers. Gone West is now a legend on the scale of some of the great legendary sires in turf history. He has done his part to spread the Mr. P wealth around the world. There are currently twenty-three sons and grandsons of Gone West that have sired at least one grade/group one winner around the world.

Gone West was a medium sized 16.0 hands dark bay with a very expressive head featuring a prominent white star and a small white snippet just above his nose. He had three white socks and just looked the part of a quality race horse. His broad chest, powerful shoulders and hindquarters were very reminiscent of his dam sire Secretariat. He would pass on many of his physical attributes to many of his best offspring.

Gone West started his stud life with a $40,000 stud fee, which would rise to as high as $150,000 in 2005. He passed away peacefully in 2009 due to old age. He is buried at Mill Ridge Farm in a place of honour beside one of his stud stable mates Diesis. Gone West may be gone from this world, but his brilliance lives on through his wonderful offspring, and a legacy of class and speed.

(Photo by Joy Gilbert courtesy of Mill Ridge Farm)


  • What a super horse! His paddock was next to his son Johar in the final years. His manager said how smart he was. When he would see food on the way he knew to go straight to his stall where he would be given it, as opposed to following the man carrying it along the fence. Mr. Greeley carries Dancer’s Image on the dam side so I always was a fan of his stud success. His son, the cleverly named Horse Greeley, recently got booted from Claiborne to Argentina. The sprinter Clearly Now has been his best performer. Da Hoss resides at Kentucky Horse Park. He is associated with Tom Durkin’s famous call comparing him to Lazarus, winning his second Breeders Cup Mile after 2 years off with just one allowance prep. Thanks Colin for featuring the amazing Gone West, whose son Speightstown is currently hot as can be getting most any kind of racer.

  • Such a beautiful horse. Great story.

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