Millionaire Bet On Sunshine has been retired after reaggravating a chronic injury in his left front suspensory ligament. The 10-year-old gelding finished third in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race at Arlington Park last Thursday and the injury was discovered afterward.
"It's kind of a nitpicky injury, but given his age and the fact it's a suspensory ligament--those soft tissue things are scary--I just don't feel good about running the horse," said trainer Paul McGee. "If he wasn't 10 years old we'd give him another eight months off and bring him back, but I just don't see bringing him back as an 11-year-old."
McGee has trained the gelding through all 47 of his starts for owner David Holloway of Louisville. Twenty-two of those starts resulted in wins good for earnings of $1,449,882. High points in Bet On Sunshine's eight-year career include three wins in the Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint, two wins in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. III), and two wins in the Aristides Handicap (gr. III). In the 2000 edition of the Aristides the gelding set a new track record, going 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.11. His total stakes tally shows 14 wins, two seconds, and eight third-place finishes in added-money events.
Bet On Sunshine never won a Breeders' Cup race, but the gelding competed in the sprint division three times. The 2001 running was his first unplaced effort--he finished third in the Sprint in 2001 and in 1997.
Bet On Sunshine first experienced an injury of this kind in 1998. He got eight months off and returned to his previous form. However, he was only five at the time.
McGee said the ideal retirement location for Bet On Sunshine would be the Kentucky Horse Park, but apparently the park has a long waiting list and is not currently an option.
"If I had room in my backyard I'd have him there, but I don't," said McGee, who is in the process of finding a good home for the gelding.
"He really has been a wonderful experience for our whole family," said Holloway's wife, Henrida. "We had a wonderful ride."
Janet Gomez bred Bet On Sunshine in Florida from the In Reality mare My Own Sunshine. He is by Bet Big.