THE most expensive horse ever Fusaichi Pegasus has died aged 26.
The Kentucky Derby hero was sold to breeding giants Coolmore for a reported £53.7million in 2000 – £95.2m in today's money.
Fu Peg, as he was known, was loved around the world and even had a solid gold statue in Japan.
A statement on Coolmore's website read: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus who was euthanised at Ashford Stud yesterday due to the infirmities of old age."
Ashford Stud's general manager Dermot Ryan said: "Fu Peg was a fantastic racehorse and a colorful character.
"I would like to thank Richard Barry and all of his team, past and present, for providing the highest level of care for him throughout his time at Ashford."
Huge things were always expected of Fusaichi Pegasus but his life story is a fascinating one of dizzying highs and desperate lows.
He was purchased by Fusao Sekiguchi as a yearling for $4 – around £3.2m in today's cash.
Racing in the US, he won two Group 2 contests before taking the country's biggest race in the millennium year.
He became the first favourite to win since Spectacular Bird in 1979.
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He was considered a banker to claim the Triple Crown but only raced three more times, picking up a Group 2 at Belmont Park in September 2000.
His final race was a well-beaten sixth at Churchill Downs a couple of months later.
Later that year he was the subject of a ferocious bidding war as the sport's billionaires battled it out for his lucrative breeding rights.
Former Manchester United owner John Magnier submitted the winning bid.
Fu Peg was homed at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky, not too far from the site of his Derby win.
A bit like his record on the track, the horse never quite reached the heights expected as a stallion, despite being given an initial standing fee of $150,000 – around £120,000.
He produce some notable names in the shape of Roman Ruler and Champ Pegasus.
But by the time he was retired from stud duties his fee had dropped to around £6,000.
Heartbroken fans paid tribute to a legend of the sport online.
One comment read: "One of my best childhood memories is loving Fusaichi Pegasus.
"From his debut to the Derby to his rearing antics and unique look… I watched his Derby on a four inch monitor and screamed my head off.
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"I sobbed in a bathroom at a party when he lost the Preakness. RIP superstar."
While another wrote: "I am so sorry. Rest in peace."
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