Grand Couturier, winner of the 2008 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park and two other New York grade I grass stakes, has been retired from racing.
“We were getting ready to go to Canada a few weeks ago, and his ankle flared up,” said trainer Robert Ribaudo. “Although the tests are now fine, we didn’t think it would be worth the risk of continuing to race him.”
Owned by Marc Keller, the 7-year-old son of Grand Lodge was one of the most successful long-distance turf horses in New York. All 10 of his stakes wins and placings in the United States came on grass in New York, and nine came in graded events. In addition to the Joe Hirsch, which he won by 10 1/4 lengths, he won the 2007-08 Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) and the 2009 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT).
“He lived and trained in New York for the last five years,” Ribaudo said. “Marc and I are New York guys, and we wanted to run him here as much as possible. The Belmont oval in particular really suited his breathtaking come-from-behind style.”
The trainer added that the biggest thrill of Grand Couturier’s career was his first Sword Dancer triumph.
“That race was simply incredible,” he said. “Not only the way that he won, but the fact that he beat English Channel , who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) and be named turf champion that year.”
Grand Couturier, who was a stakes winner and group-placed in France, retired with eight wins and seven placings from 28 starts and earnings of $1,449,701.
Tom Wilson is the breeder of Grand Couturier, who was bred in Great Britain and produced from the Sadler’s Wells mare Lady Elgar.
Stud plans have yet to be determined.