Monday, March 24, 2008

Rags-to-Breeding Shed: Thanks for the Memories

Rags to Riches in Saratoga last summer. Photo by Fran Jurga, no use without permission, which is easy to obtain.

There were plenty of riches along the way, but 2007's top filly, Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches is leaving the racetrack forever. Trainer Todd Pletcher announced today that she re-injured her pastern, which just healed from a hairline fracture.

Thousands of American racing fans and horse lovers simultaneously sighed when the news hit.

After a combination of fevers, injuries and a dismal return to racing for a single race last fall, Rags seemed destined to live in her own shadow. Did she run her heart right out when she battled 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin to the wire in the Belmont last June (and beat him, after running a mile-and-a-half)?

We'll never know. But Curlin came back and regained his winning ways. There was never a re-match between the top filly and top colt. He'll run this weekend in the Dubai World Cup and hopefully will return to the States for the Grade 1 older horses stakes circuit this summer.

I know what you're thinking and I agree. Rags will be bred immediately to Giant's Causeway, a top sire and a stunning racehorse. But maybe in a year or two, let's hope the Ashford Stud powers-that-be have a romantic side and breed her to Curlin once he retires (hopefully, safe and sound). But I'm happy to watch him race for as many years as his connections will let him.

Rags was great for racing, while she lasted. She even had her own blog. I'm sure hers got a lot more traffic than mine...and I wouldn't have it any other way.

You can relax now, filly.