Drefong, the Eclipse Award-winning male sprinter of 2016, the year he won the Breeders' Cup Sprint, has been retired from racing and will be moving to Japan to take up stud duty at Shadai Stallion Station, it was announced late Wednesday by the Baoma Corporation of Susan and Charles Chu, who owned Drefong.
Drefong, 4, won six times in nine starts during his career, including two important Grade 1 races at Saratoga - the King's Bishop Stakes in 2016 at age 3, and this year's Forego. His other victories were against maidens as a 2-year-old at Del Mar in 2015, a pair of Santa Anita allowance races at age 3, and the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
This year, Drefong raced three times. He lost jockey Mike Smith shortly after the start of the Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar in his first start of the year, then won the Forego before his final start, a sixth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Nov. 4 when attempting to defend his title. Owing to the pending move to Japan, he was moved into quarantine in Kentucky shortly after the Breeders' Cup.
Drefong is a colt by Gio Ponti and is out of the Ghostzapper mare Eltimaas. He was purchased by the Chus as a yearling for $450,000. He was trained throughout his career by Bob Baffert. He earned $1,538,385.
The Chus, in a statement, said Drefong "gave to us and our extended family so much pleasure and leaves us with some wonderful memories."
"We thank our trainer, Bob Baffert, for taking great care of Drefong and making him an outstanding champion," the Chus said. "With his beautiful looks and natural ability we are sure he will be very well supported in Japan and we will looking forward to see his young foals."
Ed Nevins, the director of Baoma, said Shadai gave Drefong the best opportunity to succeed as a stallion.
Shadai, located on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, is owned by the brothers Katsumi, Haruya, and Teruya Yoshida. The most prominent stallion at Shadai was the great Sunday Silence, the 1989 Horse of the Year who went on to have a brilliant and influential career at stud in Japan. Other United States-based runners who have called Shadai home include End Sweep, French Deputy, Golden Pheasant, Judge Angelucci, and War Emblem.