Multiple Grade I Winner Art Collector Euthanized after Developing Laminitis

Art Collector training earlier this month at Saratoga | Sarah Andrew

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Art Collector (Bernardini), a winner of eight stakes, including the 2023 GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the 2021 GI Woodward S., was euthanized Thursday in Saratoga after developing laminitis.

Horse Racing Nation was first with the story.

“This was sudden and a tough experience for me and my wife,” said owner-breeder Bruce Lunsford. “I can summarize this pretty easily. He gave me my highest highs in this business and now my lowest low. That's as simple as I can put it. He will be in my brain and my thoughts for the rest of my life. He was very special. The biggest win of my life was in the Pegasus down in Miami, so this was a really big loss. And he was going to be a great sire.”

Trainer Bill Mott said the problems started only a few days ago but became more serious by the day.

“He started to develop laminitis a couple of days ago and he went in a hurry,” Mott said. “He had a very good work on the fifth of August and was fine the next day. Then he developed what appeared to be a small foot abscess two days later. We were soaking it and treating it. We didn't think it was going to be anything serious, but it developed into laminitis in all four feet. He was with us in Saratoga and was in his stall. He started to get real uncomfortable on Tuesday. Yesterday was a bad day and it was getting worse and we had to make the decision to put him asleep.”

Art Collector was originally trained by Joe Sharp. He was transferred to trainer Tom Drury for his 3-year-old campaign. His first graded stakes win came for Drury in the 2020 GII Blue Grass S., which, because of the pandemic, was run on July 11. He returned with a win in the Ellis Park Derby before finishing fourth in the GI Preakness S., which began a three-race losing streak.

In July of 2021, Lunsford made the decision to turn the horse over to Mott, who helped turn around the horse's career. He won his first three starts for Mott in a streak that included the Alydar S., the GII Charles Town Classic and the Woodward. He scored another win in the Charles Town Classic in 2022. After winning this year's Pegasus, he finished his career with second-place finishes in the GII New Orleans Classic and the GII Alysheba.

He was being pointed for a return visit to this year's Charles Town Classic. Lunsford said the plan was to retire Art Collector after the Charles Town race and then to send him to Claiborne Farm, where he was to stand at stud.

Art Collector won 11 of 21 starts and earned $4,231,290.

“To win the Pegasus, what a brilliant race that was for him,” Mott said. “It may be the biggest race of the year so far in North America. We all have great memories of that. He won 50% of his races. He wasn't just an average race horse. He was pretty special.”

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