Grade I winner Heatseeker, who was scratched from the June 28 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), has been retired from racing due to an injury to the medial branch of the suspensory ligament in his left foreleg. Even though he is jogging and galloping sound, the injury would require at least a six-month layoff.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, 5-year-old Heatseeker won or placed in 14 of 17 races and earned $1,177,776.
“We are extremely disappointed as we had our sights set on the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), where we figured to be one of the favorites based on Heatseeker’s dominance of his division this year,” said owner William de Burgh. “I am very grateful to Jerry and his stable team. We all had a lot of fun with Heatseeker, and I know it is a huge disappointment to them as well. Horses like him do not come around very often.”
Heatseeker began his racing career in his native Ireland. From three starts at 2, he won twice and placed in the Laing O’Rourke National Stakes (Ire-I).
After coming to North America, Heatseeker developed into one of the top older males. In 2008, he won the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in track-record time, plus the Californian Stakes (gr. II) by 5 1/4 lengths in track-record time over Tiago. Also this year, Heatseeker earned a -3 rating from Jerry Brown’s Thoro-Graph Sheets and twice recorded 110 Beyer Speed Figures, the co-highest of the year at more than a mile on dirt. He set two track records in 2007.
“Heatseeker had just come into his own,” Hollendorfer said. “He is by far the best horse that I have trained. Rarely will you see a horse with the brilliance to set a track record for seven furlongs in 1:20 and change, and then be equally as brilliant being able to set a track record at a mile and a quarter.”
Bred by Richard F. Barnes, Heatseeker is by Giant’s Causeway out of the Defensive Play mare Rusty Back. Stud plans have not been decided.