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Oldest living Kentucky Derby winner, 31-year-old Go for Gin, dies of heart failure at Kentucky Horse Park

Champion Thoroughbred Go for Gin died last week due to heart failure at the Kentucky Horse Park, where he had lived since retiring from stud duty in June 2011. The 31-year-old was the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner.

Go for Gin

“We’re honored that Go for Gin was an ambassador of the park for nearly 11 years,” said Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director Lee Carter. “As a visitor favorite, Go for Gin brought visitors from around the world to the Bluegrass and introduced new fans to the sport of Thoroughbred racing. He will be greatly missed by all of us at the Kentucky Horse Park.”

Go for Gin was bred in Kentucky by Pamela Darmstadt duPont, owned by William J. Condren and Joseph Cornacchia, and trained by Nick Zito. As a two-year-old, Go for Gin, the son of Cormorant and Never Knock, won the Remsen Stakes (G2). At three, he was one of the few racehorses to beat the mighty Holy Bull, which he did in winning the 120th Kentucky Derby with Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron.

He followed that win with a second in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and the Belmont Stakes (G1) losing both of those races to Tabasco Cat. From age 2 to 4, Go for Gin won 14 out of his 19 races, earning $1,380,866.

He took up stud duty at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky and was later sold to Bonita Farm in Maryland, where he had been standing since 2004. His progeny have earned more than $16.5 million and include Albert the Great, winner of more than $3 million.

“It saddens me to learn about Go For Gin,” said Chris McCarron. “My memories of him giving me a second Kentucky Derby victory will remain indelible in my heart for as long as I live. Rest in peace, my old pal.”

Go For Gin shared the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions with other champion horses, including Thoroughbreds Funny Cide and Point Given, Standardbred pacers Wester Dreamer and Won the West, and Standardbred trotter Mr. Muscleman.

Like other great Hall of Champions horses at the Kentucky Horse Park, Go for Gin will be buried at the Memorial Walk of Champions alongside past Thoroughbred residents Forego, Bold Forbes, John Henry, Alysheba and Da Hoss.

A public memorial service will be held for Go for Gin at a future date.

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