Ghostzapper Retired With Sesamoid Injury
by Steve Haskin
Date Posted: 6/14/2005 2:34:53 PM
Last Updated: 6/16/2005 5:53:08 PM

Ghostzapper wins the Met Mile in his final start.
Photo: Skip Dickstein
Frank Stronach's Ghostzapper, the 2004 Horse of the Year and champion older male, has been retired after the detection of a small hairline fracture of the left front sesamoid. He will stand at Stronach's Adena Springs Farm near Versailles, Ky.

Ghostzapper, a 5-year-old homebred son of Awesome Again  –-Baby Zip, by Relaunch, scored a brilliant 6 1/4-length victory in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) May 30, his first start since setting a track record for 1 1/4 miles in winning the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Lone Star Park last October.

Following the Met Mile, it was revealed that an interest in Ghostzapper had been purchased by Jess Jackson, the California winemaker who has been extremely active in bloodstock transactions over the last year.

"After the race, he had some filling in his ankle," trainer Bobby Frankel said. "We X-rayed it and didn't find anything, but I wasn't comfortable with it and wanted to make sure everything was all right. I didn't want to take any chances, so I sent him to New Bolton (Medical Center) on Wednesday (June 8). They did a nuclear scan and found a hot spot. Then they took an X-ray of the spot and discovered a small crack. They said it was very difficult to find. He looks great and he's walking perfect. You couldn't tell anything was wrong with him.

"I told Mr. Stronach, and he asked how much time he'd need, and I told him he's through. It's disappointing, but it's almost a relief. At least he's going home in one piece. God forbid he would have broken his leg in a race and had to be put down. You just don't know the repercussions of something like that. The whole horse industry would have missed out on a tremendous stallion.

"My main thing with these horses is find a home for them and make sure they go home in one piece. It was worth keeping him in training just for winning that one race. He impressed people in the Met more than he did in the Breeders' Cup, and he ended his career in style."

"I'm sorry he couldn't race through the end of the year and show the racing fans how great he really was, but it would take too long to heal and he is already a 5-year-old," Stronach said June 13.
Frankel said Ghostzapper would ship to Kentucky June 16 with horses the trainer is sending to Churchill Downs.

"It is bittersweet but I'm glad Frank made the decision to keep him around another year," Adena Springs stallion sales and marketing director Jack Brothers said. "He showed a lot of brilliance but the Met Mile in many ways will be his defining race. It drew a lot of comparisons to the great horses that raced at Belmont in the past. It elevated him to another tier."

Brothers said a stud fee will not be set until late fall.

"Naturally with a Horse of the Year coming into the fold you can't help but get excited," Brothers said. "His versatility speaks volumes; he won a grade I going 6 1/2 furlongs and won the (Breeders' Cup) Classic

"(His stud fee) will be Frank's decision. With Awesome Again   having a pair of grade I winners this year already, his status is growing by leaps and bounds. Let's see how things develop the remainder of the year with Awesome Again   (before thinking about a fee for Ghostzapper)."

Ghostzapper won major sprints and one- and two-turn distance races, won on the lead and from dead last, and won on fast and sloppy tracks. And he did it with flair. His speed figures, according to the experts, were the fastest ever recorded.

"He just ran too fast for his own good," Frankel said. "He was a very special horse and he never let me down. He amazed me, and everyone, with the things he accomplished. He's a once-in-a-lifetime horse."

Ghostzapper retires with nine victories from 11 start and earnings of $3,446,120. He captured the 6 1/2-furlong Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I), seven-furlong Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II), one-mile Metropolitan, 1 1/8-mile Woodward (gr. I) and Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III), and Breeders' Cup Classic.

Awesome Again  , by Deputy Minister, has out two top 3-year-old fillies this year: Round Pond, who won the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont June 4, and Spun Sugar, who took the Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) at Pimlico May 20.

To purchase photographs of Ghostzapper and other great thoroughbreds, click here.

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