Strong Hope Retired to Claiborne

Strong Hope, a multiple grade II winner for Eugene and Laura Melnyk, has been retired from racing and will enter stud at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky. The 4-year-old son of Grand Slam wrenched an ankle in the Sept. 4 Forego Handicap (gr. I) at seven furlongs at Saratoga, and trainer Todd Pletcher feels there would not be enough time to prepare him for the Breeders' Cup. No decision has been reached as to a fee.

A $1.7 million Saratoga yearling, Strong Hope reeled off five consecutive wins last year, including scores in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II, over Empire Maker) at Saratoga and the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park. His career stakes-placings came in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) and the Carter (gr. I) and Metropolitan (gr. I) Handicaps. He retired with six wins from 11 starts and earnings of $767,460.

"This is a horse that has it all," Pletcher said. "He is grand-looking, and his tactical speed always made him a serious threat."

Claiborne president Seth Hancock added, "He is an outstanding individual, an extremely talented racehorse, and he's from a female family that includes important sires El Gran Senor and Try My Best."

Bred by Trackside Farm, G.A. Seelbinder and Liberation Farm, Strong Hope was produced from the Deputy Minister mare Shining Through.