Casino Drive Dies In Japan At Age 14

Casino Drive, a Grade 2 winner and member of one of the Thoroughbred breed’s most successful family trees, died on Aug. 5, 2019, per Japan’s stud book database. He was 14.

The son of Mineshaft was out of 2007 Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour, making him a half-brother to champion Rags to Riches, Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, and Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron. He was bred in Kentucky by Shell Bloodstock and sold to Japan’s Nobutaka Tada for $950,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Casino Drive was sent to Japan to begin his racing career, where he won on debut by 11 1/2 lengths. After that start, he returned stateside to test the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes. His 5 3/4-length score in the prep race for the Belmont Stakes made him a highly buzzed-about contender for the 2008 renewal of the classic, but a stone bruise knocked him out of the race during the leadup.

The colt returned to the races on the west coast, taking an allowance race at Santa Anita Park to set up a start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at the same track. However, he used himself up early on in the Classic and faded to a last-place finish in what would be his final U.S. start.

Casino Drive was sent back to Japan, where he picked up a win in the Alexandrite Stakes and a second in the G1 February Stakes before shipping out once again to finish eighth in the 2009 Dubai World Cup. After a two-year layoff, he finished his career with three more stakes tries in Japan, including a third in the Akhalteke Stakes. He tallied four wins in 11 starts for earnings of $904,575.

The horse retired to Shadai Stallion Station in Japan for the 2012 breeding season, and he started relatively quickly, finishing as Japan’s leading freshman sire by progeny earnings in 2015. However, he struggled to sustain that momentum when he faced down the greater Japanese stud book. He finished last year ranked 28th by earnings on Japan’s general sire list, which was his best performance to date.

The best runners by Casino Drive include Japanese Group 3 winner Vengeance, as well as stakes winners B B Gaudi, Drive Knight, Hiro Brave, Koei Temma, Laplace, Mary Moon, Noble Saturn, Prestigio, Red Anela, Red Guernica, and T O Blueberry.

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