Starlight Racing's Intense Holiday has been retired from racing because of a condylar fracture.
This year's Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) winner underwent surgery May 26 for the condylar fracture to his right front leg and, according to Dr. Patti Hogan who performed the surgery, the fracture was mended but it was advised he be retired from racing.
After finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) runner-up had been preparing for a start in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7 at Belmont Park. He was withdrawn from Belmont consideration May 25 because of the injury but his connections had hoped the son of Harlan's Holiday would be able to return to racing.
"This injury was more frustrating than most because, after a disappointing finish in the Kentucky Derby, Intense Holiday underwent a thorough veterinary exam, including nuclear scintigraphy and digital x-rays," said Dr. Foster Northrop, primary veterinarian for Starlight Racing. "All of his results came back clean and he was shipped to Belmont Park where, by all accounts, he had been training very well."
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Intense Holiday had been training well toward the Belmont.
"Intense Holiday seemed to come out of the Kentucky Derby as well as he had any of his prior races and he was training remarkably well at Belmont Park when the injury occurred," Pletcher said. "It's an unfortunate thing. He was a solid grade II winner, showed up every time, ran against the best of his generation, and I believe that as the season went on he would've had an excellent chance to be a grade I winner. These types of blows are never easy to take but this one was particularly confounding."
Starlight Racing co-managing partner, Jack Wolf, was at Belmont watching him train the morning that the injury occurred.
"You never get used to this stuff," Wolf said. "It's disappointing, but the horse did not seem to be in much distress right after the injury and we're happy that they were able to repair the injury to the extent that they could," Wolf said. "He's a good horse—a talented horse—who has provided us with some thrilling finishes. But whether they're worth $5,000 or $5 million, this is always a bitter pill to swallow."
Initense Holiday retires with a record of 2-1-1 from nine starts and earnings of $551,900. Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall & Haymarket Farm, he was purchased by Starlight's Frank Brothers for $380,000 from the Select Sales consignment to the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Starlight Racing currently is in negotiations with several farms regarding his career as a stallion and an announcement will be made when an agreement is reached.