Proud Spell, winner of the grade I Kentucky Oaks and Alabama, will be turned out at owner Brereton Jones’ Airdrie Stud in Lexington, Ky., after which a decision will be made on whether to bring her back as a 4-year-old.
Proud Spell finished second in the $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes (gr. II) in her most recent start after being trapped in a box most of the way and having to steady on two occasions.
“We haven’t made any decision yet on what we’ll do with her,” Jones said. “She’s sound, but she is tired. We’ve run her every month since February against the best fillies in America, and she didn’t lose the Cotillion because she was tired; I’m not using that as an excuse. But in each of her last few races, she’s come out of it a little more tired, which is understandable, especially after such a grueling effort against Music Note. That was the premier race for our filly.
“The other riders gave Gabriel (Saez) a lesson is race-riding in the Cotillion, as they did in the Mother Goose. The Eight Belles incident in the Derby really psyched him out in the Mother Goose. In both races, they had him bottled up, but he had a chance to shoot through each time. I told him before the Cotillion to make sure he was in front turning for home, because she’s never been passed in the stretch. She has a heart that’s unstoppable. But I’m going to stick with him; he’s a great kid and I think he’s going to be a Hall of Fame jockey one day. This is all part of the learning process.
“A lot of people advised me to wrap up on her and send her home after the Alabama, but we took a shot, because she loves to run. That’s why it’s going to be hard for me not to run her next year. Right now, we’re just going to wait and see. We’re blessed to have her and blessed that she’s sound. The immediate plan is to bring her home and turn her out and let her be a horse for a while. We did that right after the Breeders’ Cup last year. Then, we’ll take a bunch of X-rays and make sure there isn’t a problem that we don’t know about. If everything is OK, we might very well be running her next year.”
Proud Spell has won seven of her 12 career starts for earnings of over $2 million. Her other victories include the grade II Delaware Oaks, Fair Grounds Oaks, and Matron Stakes.