Bluegrass Cat arrived at Blue Grass Field Tuesday afternoon and was taken by van to WinStar Farm.

Bluegrass Cat arrived at Blue Grass Field Tuesday afternoon and was taken by van to WinStar Farm.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Bluegrass Cat Retired Due to Pastern Injury

By Claire Novak, Steve Haskin & Ron Mitchell
WinStar Farm's Bluegrass Cat, runner-up in Saturday's Travers Stakes (gr. I), was retired Sunday morning after x-rays revealed a fractured right hind pastern.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said copies of the x-rays will be forwarded to two veterinarians, including Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, and a decision will be made within 24 hours regarding the need for surgery, which is likely at this point.

"The veterinarian's impression here was that it would heal on its own, but that doesn't necessarily mean we're going to let it heal on its own," Pletcher said. "Obviously, the first priority is the horse's health and to make sure he has the speediest recovery possible, but also sometime in February he's going to be breeding mares, so we want to make sure that everything is healed up as timely as possible."

Pletcher said the colt's ankle had been wrapped with a supportive bandage and that he was resting comfortably.

"He's comfortable in his stall," said the trainer. "He's moving around and he's in no real discomfort at the moment. In these situations you don't want them so comfortable that they start jumping around. He's cautious enough, but not enduring any real pain, thankfully."

Doug Cauthen, president and CEO of WinStar Farm, said the injury likely occurred in the later part of Saturday's Travers, when Bluegrass Cat finished 7 1/2 lengths behind Bernardini.

"It probably happened sometime in the later part of the race because if it had happened real early he would have broke down on the track," Cauthen said. "It's been a tough year for injuries like that, it's a tough part of our game, so we were blessed that didn't happen."

"It's obviously very disappointing when you have your leading earner and top 3-year-old injured, but it emphasizes that this is a horse with tremendous quality and tremendous courage," Pletcher said. "To get injured in a race like [the Travers] and still run as well as he did and continue trying just emphasizes the quality of horse he is. While we're all very disappointed that he's not going to get to go on to the Breeders' Cup Classic, we're looking forward to hopefully a brilliant stud career."

In a statement from WinStar announcing the retirement, Pletcher added, "He was a very special horse. He was as good as any 3-year-old I have ever trained."

Ranked among the nation's top 3-year-olds after his victory in the $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park on Aug. 6 by a stakes-record seven lengths, Bluegrass Cat won five of 11 starts, including the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) this year and the Remsen (gr. II) and Nashua Stakes (gr. III) as a 2-year-old. He retires with $1,761,280 in earnings.