Pico Central, who won the Met Mile at Belmont in 2004, has passed away at Stud in South Korea.
Although the exact cause of death is yet to be confirmed by the Korea Racing Authority, it is understood that the 13-year-old, who had been in Korea since 2007, died after suffering a paddock accident last week.
Pico Central [Spend A Buck – Sheila Purple (Purple Mountain)] started his racing career in his home country of Brazil. He won 4 races at Gavea Racecourse in Rio De Janeiro and was crowned champion Brazilian sprinter before being bought by prominent American owner Gary A. Tanaka. Moved to the US for his 4-year-old season, Pico Central won his first 4 races in the States in 2004 including two Group 1’s, the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct and the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park.
Later that year, he returned to Belmont and was triumphant in another Group 1, the Vosburgh Stakes which would prove to be his last win. As a 5-year-old, he ran once in Dubai and was retired after finishing in last place in the Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar in July 2005.
Purchased by the Korea Racing Authority in late 2007, Pico Central was sent to the KRA Jeju Stud Farm on Jeju Island where, apart from a spell on the mainland at Jangsu, he would remain for the rest of his life.
At the time of his death, Pico Central was one of the most in-demand sires in Korea and was set to cover a full book of mares (which in Korea is about 70) this year. The first stallion import from the Buckpasser line, his loss is a major blow to the breeding program.
With only 2 crops of racing age, he finished 8th in the Leading General Sires list in 2012. Of those two crops, he has had most success with sprinters, the Busan based Alpha Myeongjang being the most successful in terms of prize money so far. He has several horses on the Korean Triple Crown trail this year.
Here is Pico Central winning the 2004 Vosburgh Stakes: