Grade I winner Rail Trip is headed for retirement at Old Friends farm in Kentucky, owner Samantha Siegel confirmed Jan. 5.
Winner of the 2009 TVG/Betfair Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), Rail Trip is retiring sound, Siegel said by phone, adding, "I think he's gotten too smart" to continue racing him.
The just-turned 9-year-old gelding by Jump Start raced for five seasons, earning $1,516,520 in his career while compiling a 9-7-1 mark in 27 starts. A Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale purchase for $200,000 by the Siegels as a yearling, he began his career with trainer Ron Ellis as a 3-year-old with five consecutive victories in 2008-09.
He then finished second in both the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) and Californian Stakes (gr. II) at Betfair Hollywood Park before capturing the Hollywood Gold Cup. He went on to win the Mervyn LeRoy and Californian the following year and was second in the Gold Cup. He also won the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar in 2012, his last win, and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) later that year.
"It was love at first sight with Rail Trip," Siegel said of the strapping bay. "I wish I had a big enough backyard for him here."
Based at soon-to-be vacated Hollywood Park, he is being moved to a nearby farm for a brief time as Ellis shuffles his training operation, Siegel said. Rail Trip is tentatively scheduled to ship to Old Friends Jan. 17, depending on whether the retirement farm is prepared to accept him at that time.
"It's wonderful that he's going to be able to be at Old Friends," Siegel said. "He's gotten quite a countrywide fan base now and it's great that people back there will get the chance to see him."
Rail Trip was bred in Kentucky by Donarra Thoroughbreds out of the Carson City mare Sweet Trip.