Donegal Racing confirmed Oct. 14 the retirement of multiple grade I winner Dullahan due to a tendon injury. According to Donegal's managing partner Jerry Crawford, the injury was sustained after the colt's last start in the TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar Aug. 25.
"We didn't think he ran the way we expected him to run in this year's Pacific Classic and we started investigating, and that's when we discovered (the injury)," Crawford said. The injury however, is not necessarily career-ending.
"We've been told by the vets he could race again," said Crawford. "But when you take a grade I horse who is going to give you a spectacular effort each time, the possibility of him hurting himself in a subsequent race was more than we were willing to risk."
Dullahan, a 4-year-old son of Even the Score , has won three grade I races in his career: the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at 2; and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and Pacific Classic at 3. His victory in last year's Pacific Classic set a track record at Del Mar for 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.54.
The Dale Romans trainee, who holds an overall record of 3-2-4 from 18 starts, has also placed in four graded stakes, including a third-place finish in the 2012 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The chestnut colt retires with earnings of $1,735,901 for the Donegal partnership.
"(Dullahan) came along following our campaign of Paddy O'Prado, who we had in our very first crop of horses as a partnership, and they both ended up finishing third in the Kentucky Derby--those are two keeper thrills for anyone," said Crawford.
"The day he set the record at Del Mar...beating older horses, including Game On Dude, was a thrill we will never forget," Crawford said. "But it was also his final winning moment. He was right that day, but I'm not sure if he was ever himself in a race after that, and it's too bad that we won't get to see the best of him."
According to Crawford, an early retirement was never previously considered for Dullahan. "Our plan had been to continue to race him as opposed to retiring him to stud right away," said Crawford. "We think that too many horses get retired young and we really believe in racing. That had been our hope and our plan, but that was not to be."
Dullahan is currently residing at Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., as Donegal explores options for his stud career.
"We've had considerable interest in him, including overseas interest," said Crawford. "At this point it's probably 50-50 whether or not he will leave the country."
Dullahan was bred in Kentucky by Phil Needham, Judy Needham, and Bena Halecky. Out of the Smart Strike mare Mining My Own, he is a half brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner and 2008 Canadian champion 2-year-old colt, Mine That Bird.