(edited press release)
Shadwell Stable's reigning Horse of the Year Invasor suffered a career-ending injury to his right hind ankle and has been retired from racing following his last major work in preparation for next Saturday's Suburban Handicap (gr. I).
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Invasor would move to Shadwell's Lexington, Ky., breeding facility, where he will stand in 2008.
"I feel honored and privileged to have trained Invasor for Sheikh Hamdan," said McLaughlin. "He feels so bad for all of us connected with the horse. He's a great owner and a great sportsman. It's a very sad day for all of us. Invasor was a superb horse and a pleasure to be around. Everyone on my team did a great job with him, as did jockey Fernando Jara. It's a shame the way it ended, but at least he will be able to go to stud."
Rick Nichols, vice president and general manager of Shadwell Farm, reported that the work went well, and the injury was not readily apparent until the horse was back at the barn, cooling out after the workout.
X-rays revealed a fracture to the top of the sesamoid, a bone in the ankle and an area he had previously injured as a young horse in Uruguay. Although surgery does not seem to be indicated, Nichols said that the connections elected to retire their world champion from racing. Nichols continued, "He's done everything we've ever asked of him. This is a huge disappointment for all of us as well as for the racing world."
In 12 starts, Invasor posted 11 wins, including six consecutive grade 1 victories, earning over $7.8 million. A 5-year-old son of Candy Stripes, Invasor won the 2005 Triple Crown in Uruguay and was named Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male in that country. After being privately purchased by Shadwell in 2006, Invasor dominated the North American racing world with victories in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I), Pimlico Special (gr. I), and Suburban Handicap (gr. I). His championship season culminated with a thrilling victory in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in November. He was voted the Eclipse Awards as Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male.
His 2007 campaign started with a two-length win in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) under a hand ride. The champion's major objective was the world's richest race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup. Invasor wore down his rivals to win by nearly two lengths.
The pride of Shadwell breezed five furlongs in :59 2/5 in company with 2006 Gotham (gr. III) winner Like Now Saturday. Barry Downs, Invasor’s regular exercise rider, was aboard for the work.
"He came back fine from the workout," McLaughlin said. "But when we went to wash his feet, he took a couple of funny steps and we noticed some swelling in his right hind leg. We had him x-rayed shortly thereafter, and that is when the fracture was detected."