Joey Franco, winning the Triple Bend.

Joey Franco, winning the Triple Bend.


Grade I winner Joey Franco Retired

California Horse of the Year of 2003, Joey Franco has been retired from racing and is expected to enter stud next year. Owner Jerry Frankel has not yet decided where the 5-year-old, grade I-winning Seattle Slew grandson will stand.

A homebred, Joey Franco not only was California's Horse of the Year, but that state's champion sprinter and older male of last year. He won three consecutive Hollywood Park stakes, including the Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at seven furlongs in 1:21.56, and the mile Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II).

Joey Franco suffered an injury in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) in his last start of 2003. He was sent to Ballena Vista Farm near Ramona, Calif., and later was returned to trainer Darrell Vienna. After a brief time with the conditioner, it was determined that retirement was in the horse's best interest.

Joey Franco (Avenue of Flags--Susan Powter, by Native Prospector) won eight of 17 races, including five stakes, and earned $635,091.