This is getting ridiculous! With trainers, owners and, most importantly, breeders focusing almost exclusively on the Breeders’ Cup—not just the actual races, but plotting a strategy to get there with the minimum number of races, thus depriving racing fans of enough quality races to justify the very existence of graded stakes—word today of yet another retirement: turf star Shakespeare, who has retired with tendon injury.
Don’t get me wrong; I completely understand that injuries and illness happen, and there is precious little that can be done about it. However, it all feels like such a letdown because of the constant buildup to the Breeders’ Cup, if it is the end-all, be-all event.
So, with exactly two weeks before the first BC races are run at Monmouth, I’m disappointed that some of my favorite horses won’t be there, namely:
• Fabulous Strike (Sprint)—lung infection
• River’s Prayer (F&M Sprint)—career-ending fractured sesamoid
• Ready’s Image and The Roundhouse (Juvenile)—bone chip in knee and sore shins, respectively; both out for the year
• Asi Siempre (Distaff)—retired
• Rags to Riches (Distaff)—injured, out for year
• Student Council (Classic)—debating whether to run in Japan Cup instead
• Political Force (Classic)—retired to Claiborne
• Lava Man (Mile)—can’t run outside of Cali, apparently
• Teuflesberg (Mile)—career-ending fractured sesamoids
Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be glued to my television set the entire day, and plenty of my other favorites will still make a go of it, like Miss Macy Sue and Baroness Thatcher (F&M Sprint), Izarra and Cry and Catch Me (Filly Juvenile), Tough Tiz’s Sis and Octave (Distaff), and Tiago (Classic).
But, alas, parting is such sweet sorrow for others.
[UPDATE: Count Vacare and Rutherienne out of the BC too! Vacare will point towards the G1 Matriarch at Hollywood, while Rutherienne has a splint left hind and is out for the year]