WinStar Farm's Awesome Humor, one of the nation's top 3-year-old fillies, has been knocked out of Saturday's $300,000-added Falls City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs by injury and has been retired from racing.
Trainer Elliott Walden said the daughter of Distorted Humor had enjoyed a good week of training for the Falls City, which was to have been her final race. But some minor swelling was discovered in her right front ankle on Thursday morning, which prompted his decision to scratch her from the Falls City and end her racing career.
"She's done so much and has just been remarkable," said Walden. "We were just not willing to take any chance at all."
Awesome Humor retires with an enviable record of 6-4-0 in 11 races and earnings of $848,950. She started her career for owner Tom Durant and trainer Ronny Werner, but was purchased by WinStar after she won the Debutante (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. She went on to complete an unbeaten four-race juvenile campaign that included wins in Saratoga's Spinaway (gr. I) and Adirondack (gr. II) for Walden.
She underwent surgery to remove bone chips from both front ankles in the fall of last year. She returned for a 3-year-old campaign in which she won the Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III). She finished second in the Alabama (gr. I), Delaware Oaks (gr. III) and Turfway Breeders' Cup (gr. III). She was a runner-up to Lead Story in the Churchill Downs Distaff (gr. II) in what turned out to be the final race of her career.
"I'm very disappointed -- I thought she'd win (the Falls City)," said Walden. "She's been a great one and we were hoping to go over $1 million (in earnings) today, but she doesn't owe us anything."
Walden said that WinStar Farm, which stands her sire, plans to breed Awesome Humor to Storm Cat. The retirement of Awesome Humor comes less than a week after the retirement of another of Walden's major horses, South African star Ipi Tombe.