The quest to become racing’s all-time leading earner among fillies and mares has ended for Mike Pegram’s two-time champion Silverbulletday, who has been retired and will be bred in 2001. The 4-year-old daughter of Silver Deputy and the Tom Rolfe mare Rokeby Rose, made her last start for Pegram and trainer Bob Baffert on July 23 at Delaware Park, where she finished third behind Lu Ravi in the Delaware Handicap (gr. III).
“All good things must come to the end, and this is the end,” Pegram said on Monday. “She’s the best horse a person could ever own, and you’ve got to do right by her. If Bobby doesn’t think she can be 100% by Breeders’ Cup time, you’ve got to pull the plug, because she’s got nothing else to prove. We had hoped to get her the money record and win the Distaff (gr. I), but that won’t be possible.”
Baffert said Silverbulletday had begun to show some wear and tear from a career which produced 15 wins from 23 starts, all stakes except for her maiden victory. “We just didn’t think it was right to take any chances with her,” Baffert said.
Pegram said no decision has been made on a mating for Silverbulletday, whom he purchased for $155,000 at the 1997 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale. He said Silverbulletday, who has been stabled at Saratoga, would be sent to John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm near Lexington.
Silverbulletday burst onto the scene in June of 1998, shortly after Pegram’s Real Quiet had captured two-thirds of the Triple Crown en route to a year-end championship. She won six of seven starts as a 2-year-old, highlighted by a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), then won eight of 11 as a 3-year-old in 1999, when her triumphs included the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Alabama Stakes (gr. I). Silverbulletday won Eclipse Awards as champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old filly.
“I’ve never had a filly that could do what she did,” Baffert said. “Her Alabama was awesome. She ran a mile and a quarter and didn’t even take a deep breath when she came back.”
Silverbulletday won just one of five starts this year and retired with earnings of $3,093,207. Serena’s Song holds the distaffer earnings record with $3,283,388.
“When you get two horses of a lifetime back to back, it puts you on an incredible high,” Pegram said of his two champions. “The only way I could show my appreciation was to have a hell of a good time. I think we did that. She had a great fan club, too, so it’s sad to see a champion go out on a losing streak, but sometimes that’s the reality of the business. I just hope she’s as great a broodmare as she was a racemare.”