January 7, 2014 From Michael Blowen:
Last night, after a group of Old Friends joined up to de-ice all the waterers, I was inside drinking beer and watching a re-run of the 1986 Breeders' Cup on HRTV and thinking how well everything was going. We made the arrangements to lease the land next door and looked forward to the arrival of Rail Trip and Catlaunch and others on the waiting list. The horses all seemed to be holding up in the weather. But, at dawn, everything changed. Sunshine Forever was lying motionless on the coldest, hardest ground imaginable. We're awaiting the necropsy results. But that won't really change anything. Our foundation stallion, the Eclipse Award winner who we brought home after his breeding career in Japan was over in 2004, is dead and there's nothing much more to be said. If I may add just a personal note. I don't think I've ever been sadder. I also want to thank everyone who ever fed him a carrot or petted him on the neck or tried to play with his tongue or sang "You are My Sunshine" with Teri or bet on him or bred to him or just smiled when they saw him. You are the ones who had the privilege of knowing how extra special he was in a very special place.
Obit Press Release:
JANUARY 7, 2014 – Sunshine Forever, the 1988 Eclipse Award Turf Champion, died January 7 at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, KY. The 29-year-old stallion was discovered in his paddock at dawn today and a necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
The son of Roberto out of the Graustark mare Outward Sunshine, Sunshine Forever had been pensioned at Old Friends since his return to the United States in 2004 from stud duty in Japan.
“Our foundation stallion, the Eclipse Award winner who we brought home after his breeding career was over, is dead, and there's nothing much more to be said,” noted Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen. “I don't think I've ever been sadder.”
In 1988 the 3-year-old Sunshine Forever captured fived graded-stakes wins, including a trio of back-to-back GR1 victories in the Turf Classic, the Man O' War, and –in an impressive fight to the finish – the Budweiser International.
A favorite in that year’s Breeder's Cup Turf, he narrowly missed the win, coming in second to Great Communicator, but he was nevertheless honored as 1988's Eclipse Turf Champion.
The bay colt ended his career in 1989 with 8 wins from 23 starts and track earnings of over $2 million.
“I want to thank everyone who ever fed him a carrot or petted him or bet on him or bred to him or just smiled when they saw him,” added Blowen. “You are the ones who had the privilege of knowing how extra special he was in a very special place.”
In 1988, the 3-year-old Darby Dan stallion Sunshine Forever won two prestigious graded stakes: The Hill Prince and the Lexington. But he was just getting started. Trained by John Veitch, who also trained the extraordinary Alydar, Sunshine Forever stepped up with victories in three grade 1s: the Turf Classic at Belmont, the Man O' War, and - in an impressive fight to the finish - the Budweiser International. A favorite in the Breeder's Cup Turf, he narrowly missed the win, coming in second to Great Communicator. Nevertheless, he was honored as 1988's Eclipse Award winner for outstanding Turf Horse.
The bay colt continued racing at 4, bringing his track earnings to over $2 million. He left racing in 1990 and eventually went to stand stud at Japan's Nitta Farm —the same farm where Ferdinand had stood. In late 2004, Old Friends returned Sunshine Forever and Creator to the U.S.
SUNSHINE FOREVER 1985 - 2014's Info:
Bred in KY by John W. Galbreath. Foaled March 14, 1985
23 Starts, 8 Wins, 6 Places, 3 Shows. Career Earnings: $2,084,800
Racing Owner: Darby Dan Farm
Trainer: John M. Veitch
Regular Jockeys: Jerry Bailey, Angel Cordero, Jr.
Championship: Eclipse Turf Champion 1988
Biggest wins: Man O'War S (G1) at Belmont 24 Sept. 1988, Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont 9 Oct. 1988, Bud International (G1) at Laurel Park 23 Oct. 1988, Lexington S (G2) at Belmont 1988, Hill Prince S (G3) at Belmont 1988
Other notable races: 2nd Breeders' Cup Turf Nov. 5 1988, 2nd Sword Dancer (G1) Belmont 1988, 3rd Arlington Million (G1) at Woodbine 1988, 2nd Saranac S (G2) Belmont 1988, 2nd Canadian Turf H (G2) at Gulfstream 1989, 3rd Ft. Marcy H (G3) Aqueduct 1989
Joined Old Friends November 2004