The injury-plagued Rip Van Winkle, who was scheduled to be pre-entered in both the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT), has been retired after suffering what trainer Aidan O’Brien called a “very slight setback.”
Despite a series of nagging foot injuries last year, Rip Van Winkle still managed to win three group I stakes over the past two years, including this year’s Juddmonte International at York. He did make it to last year’s Classic, but was at the end of a long, hard year and was far from his best, finishing 12th at Santa Anita.
Owned by Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, and bred in Ireland by Roberto Brogi, the son of Galileo – Looking Back, by Stravinsky, retires with earnings of $1,916,781.
O’Brien told the Racing Post: “Rip Van Winkle has had a very slight setback and, while it is very minor, it would have meant forcing him to get him to Churchill Downs. So the decision has been made to retire him. Everyone knows how good I always thought he was. His big thing was his incredible speed. We knew he had that from the first day he worked. He did win the Juddmonte International over a mile and a quarter this year, but he was a miler first and foremost."
After futilely chasing Sea The Stars last year, Rip Van Winkle took home the group I Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
This year he was beaten by Canford Cliffs in the Sussex before defeating Twice Over in the Juddmonte International. He was then second behind stablemate Cape Blanco in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) and most recently was second, beaten a nose by Poet's Voice, in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.