Sunshine Forever, who was honored as the champion turf male of 1988 as a
three-year-old, died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday at the Old Friends
Equine Retirement Facility in Georgetown, Kentucky. The news was initially
reported in Daily Racing Form.
A 29-year-old son of Roberto, Sunshine Forever had been a resident at Old
Friends for nearly 10 years following a stud career at his birthplace, Darby Dan
Farm in Lexington, and at Nitta Farm in Japan.
Rising to prominence the same year that marked the death of Darby Dan founder
John Galbraith, Sunshine Forever captured two of his first three stakes attempts
against fellow three-year-olds — the Lexington and Hill Prince at Belmont Park
— and concluded his ambitious campaign with six consecutive Grade 1 outings
against older horses.
After a second to the mare Anka Germania in the Sword Dancer Handicap at
Belmont and a third in the relocated Arlington Million at Woodbine, Sunshine
Forever rattled off three straight wins in the Man o’ War and Turf Classic at
Belmont and the Washington D.C. International at Laurel. His campaigned
concluded with a half-length second to Great Communicator in the Breeders’ Cup
Turf at Churchill Downs.
Despite the Breeders’ Cup loss, Sunshine Forever was honored with an Eclipse
Award as the nation’s champion male grass horse of 1988. He was the last
American-based three-year-old to win the award until Kitten’s Joy won in 2004.
Sunshine Forever failed to win in six outings in 1989 while placing in the
Canadian Turf Handicap at Gulfstream and Fort Marcy Handicap at Aqueduct. He was
retired to Darby Dan with a mark of 23-8-6-1, $2,084,800.
Trained by Hall of Famer John Veitch, Sunshine Forever’s leading U.S. and
European-based offspring included Italian highweight Blu Tagasaste, Grade 1
winner Sunshine Street, Grade 3 winner Gastronomical, and the noted
Louisiana-bred mare Sarah Lane’s Oates.
Sunshine Forever was produced by the stakes-placed Graustark mare Outward