David B. Bloom's Taste of Paradise, winner of the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) and second, beaten a head, in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), has been retired after developing a small lesion on his left front leg, trainer Gary Mandella said Friday.
The 6-year-old son of Conquistador Cielo – Tastetheteardrops, by What Luck had been pointing to the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct on Nov. 26. He retires with six career victories from 28 starts, with three seconds and four thirds, for earnings of $1,019,455.
Mandella, who took over the training of Taste of Paradise following the 2004 Del Mar meet, said Bloom currently is "working on a retirement deal for the horse," adding that there are "several people interested" in standing the horse at stud.
Mandella said he noticed something wasn't quite right after the horse's last gallop.
"When I ran my fingers down his leg, there was just the slightest little bump, almost like a pimple," Mandella said. "We took an ultrasound to see if there was a little swelling because he had hit himself or because there was actually a tear, and we found just a tiny lesion on the tendon. It was only about the size of a teardrop, but he wouldn't have been able to perform at the level he had been his last few races, and it probably would have turned into a bow had we continued to race him.
"We were hoping to give him another chance in the Cigar Mile after the tough beat in the Sprint, because he showed he likes the New York tracks. The horse tried hard all year and he got really good at the right time, which made it a lot of fun for us, and we certainly appreciate what we did get done with him this year.
"The horse certainly doesn't owe me anything, that's for sure. It's been very rewarding to work with him over the year and a quarter we've had him and tinker with him. Then to have him get good, and then backtrack with him and have him get good again was a great experience. I'm very appreciative of the horse for what he was able to do for me. It's a bitter pill to swallow to have him go out off such a tough defeat, and then just 10 days later wind up with an injury that's going to end his career. But that's all taken at once. If you look at the whole picture, obviously we have no regrets."
Taste of Paradise, whose Vosburgh win was Mandella's first grade I victory, was bred in Kentucky by Bloom, Keith Abrahams, and Robert Snukal.
Before Mandella, he was trained by Molly Pearson, Michael Stidham (for one race), Jay Robbins (for two races), and John Sadler.
In addition to the Vosburgh, Taste of Paradise captured the San Diego Handicap (gr. II), Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III), and Ack Ack Handicap.