Lion Heart Injured, Retired; Sir Shackleton Bled

Lion Heart Injured, Retired; Sir Shackleton Bled
Photo: Equi-Photo/Bill Denver
Lion Heart, winning the Haskell Invitational.
Multiple Grade I-winning millionaire Lion Heart has been retired after suffering a fracture to his third phalange in his right front foot in Saturday's Travers Stakes (gr. I), trainer Patrick Biancone said Sunday, but a decision on where the multiple grade I winner will stand at stud won't come for the next couple of weeks.

The chestnut son of Tale of the Cat set the early pace before fading to finish last of seven as the 5-2 favorite in the 1 ΒΌ-mile Travers.

"He's such a smart horse; he knew that when something went wrong to take it easy," Biancone said. "For the first half of the race everything went just as planned, but when I saw him start to drop back I knew something wasn't right."

According to Biancone, Lion Heart isn't in any pain and won't need surgery, but will have restricted activity while the broken bone heals.

"He was out grazing this morning. He won't be jogging or anything, but he's fine and in good spirits."

Lion Heart, who was purchased for $1.4 million by co-owners Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith as a 2-year-old in training, has banked $1,390,800 with a career line of five wins and three seconds from 10 starts. He won the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) and also captured the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) as a juvenile and was most notably second to Smarty Jones in the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

"It was a wonderful experience having him and going to the big races," Biancone said. "The good news is that he's alive and now will go (to stud).

"He'll go and make some babies," Biancone said. "The horse has been very generous to us. He gave everything he had."

Biancone said jockey Joe Bravo "felt something" as the 3-year-old changed leads after the first mile had been completed. Post-race x-rays confirmed the injury.

Because the fracture would take up to six months to heal, the decision was made to retire Lion Heart.

While Lion Heart's connections were disappointed with the Travers outcome, they got some consolation when Biancone saddled Smith and Tabor's Pomeroy to win the grade I King's Bishop on the Travers card.

Meanwhile, Sir Shackleton, stablemate of Travers winner and runner-up Birdstone and The Cliff's Edge, respectively, bled while finishing fifth in Saturday's race.

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