Owner Rick Porter posted on his Fox Hill Farm website April 23 that 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace has been retired after an injury was detected in her right front ankle following a workout at Churchill Downs April 22.
Porter said some heat was detected in the mare's right front ankle following the work and that it was still present the morning of April 23. After Havre de Grace was examined by Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Porter said, "We didn’t get a positive prognosis for continuing her racing career."
"It is with great disappointment that I have to announce that Havre de Grace has been retired," said Porter. "Owning Grace through her racing career has been the highlight of my time in horse racing. She was a wonderful, wonderful racehorse, and I feel confident she'll be an equally wonderful broodmare. Thanks, Grace, for all you gave us, and here's to a long and enjoyable retirement."
Bramlage said the mare had sustained a ligament injury that would impact her racing career but that she could have a new career as a broodmare.
"This is just one of many ligaments that support the fetlock by attaching to the base of the sesamoid," Bramlage said in the report. "Unfortunately, with one injured the remaining ligaments become progressively more vulnerable, and they would sequentially become injured if we trained on. These are slow healing and are prone to re-occur once injured the first time.
"In a lesser horse we would rehabilitate, probably using stem cell therapy, but it takes a year to fully resolve, and it usually reduces a horse's quality," the veterinarian wrote. "In her instance this is not acceptable, and so we should probably stop her race career. She needs 60 days of stall rest and hand walking before turning out. She needs no special therapy if we are not going to train again as the remaining ligaments are intact because this was identified so early in the course of the problem. She will be fine as a broodmare."
Bramlage recommended "stall and hand walking" for the mare, and that "she could be bred at any time if you like. She can go outside in a stall-sized square pen if desired to help her settle into her new career. Normally we would just turn out at that time. We can check her again to assess if desired."
The 5-year-old daughter of Saint Liam logged the ninth win of her 16-race career when she took the New Orleans Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots March 17 in her first race since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
Nancy S. Dillman bred Havre de Grace in Kentucky. She is out of the Carson City mare Easter Bunnette.
Trained by Larry Jones, she retires with career earnings of $2,586,175.