The Aga Khan's homebred Kalanisi, whose victory in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) in his lone U.S. start resulted in an Eclipse Award, has made a fine start in his new career at his owner's Gilltown Stud in Ireland.
For the second time in as many weeks, a 2000 Breeders' Cup winner and North American turf champion has been retired. Following on the heels of turf female champion Perfect Sting's retirement, the Racing Post reports His Highness the Aga Khan's Kalanisi has had his career ended due to a hairline crack in his left foreleg.
England's four-day Royal Ascot meeting begins today, with a clash of Two Thousand Guineas winners on tap in the opening day feature, the St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I).
Fantastic Light edged Golden Snake in the stretch to earn a neck-length victory in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I) on Sunday at the Curragh. In his seasonal debut, Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Kalanisi finished third, three lengths behind the runner-up.
Let's see if this story sounds familiar...an international turf star, sired by Mill Reef's son Doyoun, makes one start in the United States and wins the Eclipse Award as top turf horse. If it doesn't ring a bell, then flip back the calendar just one year to when Daylami turned the trick. In 2000, it was Kalanisi's turn.
Horse of the Year titles come in all sizes, from a year's worth of heroics to a single moment of glory. In 2000, it came in the size of Tiznow's neck. That's all it took to turn the name of Tiznow from a faint whisper before the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) to a deafening roar after it.
The Aga Khan's Kalanisi, impressive winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, will be kept in training in 2001 at age five, according to the Racing Post.
Even majesty has its slapstick moments. As Kalanisi prepared to head back to the grandstand, just heartbeats after his sterling victory in the $2,271,680 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), the mahogany colt found himself all alone, the center of the world's attention. A shy type described by trainer Michael Stoute as "a little bit of a playboy," he took a quick glance left and spotted the six-furlong gap exit. For a transplanted European, it meant only one thing. That was the way home. A nifty side step later, jockey John Murtagh was planted on the Churchill Downs dirt, smiling up in bewilderment.
The turf course at Churchill Downs was crowded Thursday, as some Breeders' Cup contenders completed their final workouts and others exercised on the grass.
Sir Micheal Stoute's Breeders' Cup duo of the Aga Kahn's Kalanisi (Turf) and Highclere's Petrushka (Filly & Mare Turf) were on the Churchill Downs turf course Sunday for what was scheduled to be a routine six-furlong work -- but little went according to plan. After three days of quiet canters and gallops over the grass course, Kalanisi unleashed a display of fractious and stubborn behavior worthy of the best of Classic contender Fusaichi Pegasus.
The Breeders' Cup Turf may have gained an additional starter but lost a contender as a result of Saturday's Dubai Champion Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket, England.
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