Illinois star Taser Gun dies at 23

Taser Gun, who starred for many years racing primarily in Illinois, died Monday, May 14, at his home at the American Standardbred Adoption Program (ASAP) in De Soto, Wisc. Taser Gun, who retired from racing in 2007, was 23.

Taser Gun had become stricken the day before, being discovered laying in a creek. Under coaxing he eventually was able to stand up and return to his stall, and ASAP director Susan Wellman said when she checked on him at 7 a.m. on Monday he was up and about and she felt relief in that he appeared to have recovered. However, four hours later he was found dead in his stall.

Taser Gun came to ASAP after his retirement after a nine-year racing career in which he won 69 of 147 races and $1,158,893 for owner Cunningham Racing Inc. He set his lifetime mark of 1:49.2 in 2000 at age five at Balmoral Park. That same year he paced two sub-1:50 miles in less than one week, capturing a colt stakes elimination at the Illinois State Fair in 1:49.3, which was followed four days later by a 1:49.4 victory in the final.

A son of Henry Letsgo, Taser Gun amassed his earnings competing primarily in the free-for-all ranks and Illinois conceived-and-foaled races. When Taser Gun won the $100,000 Dan Patch final in 2004 at Balmoral Park, it was his richest-ever victory.

Taser Gun made several appearances after his retirement, including in 2014 when ASAP brought him to the Illinois Horse Fair where he was driven by trainer-driver Rick Schrock and accompanied by his longtime trainer Bob Walker and family.

“This is a shock—an absolutely shock,” Wellman wrote on Taser Gun’s Facebook page. “A peaceful Mother’s Day one moment, and Taser Gun taken from us the next. This farm will never be the same. The love that people have demonstrated for this horse is beyond measure. He touched everyone’s hearts.”