John Oxley's grade II winner Strong Contender, scratched as the second-choice the morning of the Feb. 3 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park, has been retired from racing because of an injury that occurred in the Jan. 6 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream. An examination the morning of the Donn revealed a significant tendon tear.
A 4-year-old son of Maria's Mon trained by John Ward, Strong Contender won or placed in seven of eight races and earned $618,000. After breaking his maiden in his sole start at 2, Strong Contender captured last year's Super Derby (gr. II) and Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) and placed in the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) and the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) and Peter Pan (gr. II) Stakes.
Strong Contender, who was bred in Kentucky by Haras Santa Maria de Araras S.A., is out of the stakes-placed Dynaformer mare Kopenhagen. Oxley bought Strong Contender for $800,000 at the 2005 Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training from Murray Smith. Breeding plans are incomplete.