Kentucky-bred Van Gogh was named Cartier Champion 2-Year-Old Colt in Europe on Friday, joining fellow Kentucky-bred Roaring Lion as recent European champions. Roaring Lion was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Colt in 2018.
Van Gogh, an imposing bay colt by American Triple Crown winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) victor American Pharoah, impressively won the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in France this year and finished second in the Tyros Stakes, Juvenile Stakes, and Autumn Stakes for the Coolmore partners of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, and Diane Nagle.
Bred in the Bluegrass by Barronstown Stud and trained by Aidan O’Brien, Van Gogh hails from American Pharoah’s second crop. The champion colt is produced from the accomplished race mare Imagine (IRE), who is by the influential Kentucky-bred stallion Sadler’s Wells. Imagine won the Irish 1000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks during her racing career.
Additional Kentucky-bred champions in Europe in recent years include: U.S. Navy Flag, Champion 2-Year-Old Colt in 2017; Air Force Blue, Champion 2-Year-Old Colt in 2015; Skitter Scatter, Champion 2-Year-Old Filly in 2018; Lady Aurelia, Champion 2-Year-Old Filly in 2016; and Certify, Champion 2-Year-Old Filly in 2012. Kentucky-bred Horses of the Year include the aforementioned Roaring Lion in 2018, Fantastic Light, Horse of the Year in 2001, and Giant’s Causeway, Horse of the Year in 2000.