Winner of the Cigar Mile (G1) in his sophomore finale, Connect appeared poised for a big 4-year-old season when opening 2017 with an easy triumph in the Westchester (G3) at Belmont Park in early May. Unfortunately, he sustained a soft tissue injury and has been retired.
The talented son of Curlin will stand stud at Lane’s End Farm in 2018.
Owned by Paul Pompa and trained by Chad Brown, Connect won 6-of-7 starts after dropping his career debut in December 2015. He posted maiden and allowance victories prior to capturing the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga in his initial stakes appearance.
He exited his only setback of 2016, a sixth in the Travers (G1), with a lung infection but Connect rebounded a month later in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2), posting a half-length decision over Gun Runner. The dark bay colt appeared to be hitting his best stride when following with an excellent win over elders in the Cigar Mile in late November.
“I’ve said it before, but of all the very good horses I’ve been fortunate to own Connect is in another league,” Pompa said. “Of course we’re all very disappointed that he won’t be able to run again, but I’m also looking forward to the next stage of his career. Lane’s End has an exceptional record and I’m confident that the outstanding syndicate that’s been put together will give him every chance for success.”
Connect registered a career-best 108 BRIS Speed taking the Cigar Mile and a 105 Speed number when romping by 4 ¾ lengths in the Westchester.
“His return to the races this year showed just how good he is and how competitive he would have been in the toughest division in racing,” reigning Eclipse Award winner Brown said. “He’s an outstanding physical, with speed by a top sire. He’s a very promising prospect.”
Connect, who earned $1,370,000, is out of the unraced Holy Bull mare Bullville Belle, a half-sister to four stakes winners.
“He’s by a top class sire that’s one of the most commercially sought after stallions in the market. He will cross beautifully with A.P. Indy line mares, with which Curlin has had so much success with,” Lane’s End’s Will Farish said. “Paul Pompa has had a major racing stable for many years and I’m very happy he’s entrusted us with the stallion career of Connect.”