Anchor Down, a multiple graded stakes-winning miler at Belmont Park by Tapit who defeated Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) victor Tamarkuz when taking the Kelso Handicap (G2) in a near track-record 1:32.90, has been retired and will enter stud at Gainesway. Anchor Down is being syndicated and will stand for $10,000 in 2017. He is available for inspection at the farm from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. daily.
Out of a graded stakes-winning 2-year-old, Anchor Down is a half-brother to Grade 1-winning sprinter Sweet Lulu and a full brother to Grade 1 juvenile performer Iron Fist.
Campaigned by Alto Racing and trained by Todd Pletcher, Anchor Down won his first two career starts as an early 3-year-old at Gulfstream Park, including a seven-furlong allowance in 1:21.67 when he finished 7½ lengths ahead of Danza, winner of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in his next start. Anchor Down had been targeting the Grade 1 Wood Memorial before being sidelined.
In 2016 Anchor Down developed into one of the country’s top milers. He led from gate to wire and romped by 6¾ lengths in the Westchester Stakes (G3) and was runner-up to Frosted in the Grade 1 Met Mile, defeating Grade 1 winners Tamarkuz and Noble Bird, among others.
Not only did Anchor Down wire the field and break 1:33 in the one-mile Kelso, but he also earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure, the second-highest dirt figure of 2016 at the distance.
“He was very impressive in his first two starts and was on the course for a Kentucky Derby prep,” Pletcher said. “We felt like he was quickly moving to the head of our class as a Kentucky Derby candidate, particularly with his performance over Danza, who came back to win the Arkansas Derby and run third in the Kentucky Derby.
“Ultimately his forte was as a brilliant miler. He had the ability to set a high cruising speed, which historically bodes well for him as a stallion prospect. I believe Anchor Down is one of only four horses ever to run a sub-1:33 mile at Belmont, so that’s rarefied air.”
Anchor Down’s half-sister, Test Stakes (G1) winner Sweet Lulu (by Mr. Greeley), sold for $3 million as a broodmare. His full brother Iron Fist, who placed behind American Pharoah in the Del Mar Futurity (G1), sold for $1.55 million as a yearling. Their dam is Successful Outlook, herself a graded stakes-winning 2-year-old by champion sprinter Orientate.
Anchor Down, who was bred by Gainesway, returns to his birthplace to take up stud duties. Gainesway president Antony Beck said, “Anchor Down’s unique combination of pedigree, physical, and raw miler speed gives him the potential to make a very successful sire.”