Most Expensive Kentucky Derby Winner Ever, Fusaichi Pegasus, Dies at Age 26


The Stallion still remains the most expensive horse ever purchased to win the Kentucky Derby.

Fusaichi Pegasus, a renowned Thoroughbred stallion, spent the first ten years of his breeding career splitting his time between Ashford Stud in Woodford County and Coolmore’s breeding operation in Australia. Throughout his stallion career, he produced champion racehorses in various countries, leaving a lasting impact on the racing world.

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

Legendary Pedigree

Following Fusaichi Pegasus’ passing, there are currently 20 living Kentucky Derby winners. The youngest among them is Mage, the victor of the 2023 Kentucky Derby, while the oldest is the 29-year-old Silver Charm, who now resides at the Old Friends farm in Georgetown. The son of the great stallion Mr. Prospector, Fusaichi 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.

Bred by Arthur Hancock and Bob and Janice McNair of Stonerside Farm, Fusaichi Pegasus was trained by Neil Drysdale. He achieved success on the racetrack, winning six out of nine career starts and accumulating earnings of $1,994,400. In 2000, he emerged victorious in the San Felipe Stakes and the Wood Memorial, setting the stage for his notable triumph in the Kentucky Derby and a second-place finish in the Preakness Stakes. Although he did not participate in the Belmont Stakes, Fusaichi Pegasus returned to racing later that year, securing a win in the Jerome Handicap and finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, marking his final race.

“He was a challenging horse to train, actually,” Drysdale said. “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.”

During the 2000 Kentucky Derby, Fusaichi Pegasus crossed the finish line first in a competitive field of 19 horses. His winning time of 2:01.12 for the mile-and-a-quarter distance ranked as the seventh-fastest in the history of the prestigious race at that time. Even in 2023, his time remains among the top ten fastest recorded. As the 2-1 post-time favorite, Fusaichi Pegasus triumphed by 1 1/2 lengths over Aptitude and 5 ½ lengths over Impeachment, showcasing his exceptional talent and dominance on the racetrack. Legendary Jockey Kent Desormeaux could not believe the power of Fusaichi Pegasus.

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


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