Ouija Board, impressive winner of last year's VO5 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), has suffered an injury, and classic winner North Light has been retired. Ouija Board's connections are hopeful that she will recover and be racing again in September in time to be at her best for this year's Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park.
The 4-year-old Cape Cross filly, a dual European classic winner in 2004, was well-beaten in the Prince of Wales's Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot at York June 15. She lost a shoe and reportedly suffered a quarter crack in her first start since winning the Breeders' Cup last October. It has been subsequently discovered that she sustained a small stress fracture to her near-fore cannon bone.
Ouija Board earned an Eclipse Award as top 2004 grass female and was the Cartier Horse of the Year. Her trainer. Ed Dunlop, based in Newmarket, England, said, "We haven't retired her--we are very far from it. She will be box-rested for a fortnight, re-X-rayed, and then we'll make more of a plan about what we are going to do. It's a stress fracture at the base of her cannon bone and is not career-threatening at this stage.
"Hopefully, we'll see her back later in the year. It will probably not be until the beginning of September, but who knows?"
Owner Lord Derby added: "We very much hope she will return to the racecourse later in the year, but our first concern must be for our lovely filly.
"We will not hesitate to retire her if there is any doubt about her welfare. My wife, Cazzy, and I--and our filly's many fans, I'm sure--look forward to seeing her back in good health and on the course doing what she does so well."
Ouija Board, who was produced from the Welsh Pageant mare Selection Board, won the classic Vodafone Epsom (Eng-I) and Darley Irish (Ire-I) Oaks, plus the R.L. Davison Pretty Polly Stakes. In France, she ran third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere (Fr-I). She won five of nine starts and earned $1,671,768.
A pelvic injury forced the retirement of North Light, winner of the 2004 Vodafone Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and runner-up in the Irish equivalent, the Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I).
His trainer, Michael Stoute, said: "North Light has sustained a stress fracture of the right ilial wing (in the pelvis) and will now be retired. He has been a joy to train and we shall long remember his victories in the (Totesport) Dante Stakes (Eng-II) and Epsom Derby."
Irish-bred North Light was bred by and raced for Ballymacoll Stud. He ended 2004 by finishing fifth to Bago in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere (Fr-I) and raced once this year, coming home second to New Morning in the Betfair.com Brigadier Gerard Stakes (Eng-III) at Sandown Park May 31 when looking uncomfortable on the fast ground.
Peter Reynolds, manager of Ballymacoll Stud, remarked: "We are all gutted here in Ballymacoll. We bred him, his mother, and his grandmother.
"He was such a brave horse at Epsom. I feel that possibly that was even the undoing of the horse on that fast ground. He was very unlucky because he hit fast ground again in both the Irish Derby and the Arc, which is unheard of. I suppose Sandown was the final straw."
North Light, by Danehill, retired with three wins and three seconds from seven starts and earnings of $1,989,577 from racing at ages two through four. His dam, Sought Out (by Rainbow Quest), was a champion twice in France and once in Germany.
A decision has not been reached as to where North Light will enter stud.