Khalid Abdullah's homebred champion Banks Hill, who came within a length and a half this year of winning her second consecutive Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), has been retired from racing. The decision to retire the 4-year-old daughter of Danehill was made following her fourth-place finish in the Dec. 1 Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park. A champion last year in North America, England, and France, Banks Hill exits racing with five wins and eight grade/group I stakes placings from 15 starts and earnings of $1,824,008.
"She has done enough," said Dr. John Chandler, manager of Juddmonte's North American operation. "She's a champion, millionaire, and a grade I winner. We've got some good fillies in California."
Perhaps more than anything, Banks Hill and her achievements showcased the brilliance of the entire Juddmonte operation. "She's the ultimate achievement in a breeding operation," Chandler said. "Juddmonte bred and raced Danehill, as well as Bank's Hill's dam, Hasili."
Danehill and Hasili were both stakes winners. Danehill stands at, and is managed by, Coolmore Stud in Ireland. Juddmonte retains a breeding interest in the stallion.
Hasili, by Kahyasi, is kept at Juddmonte's Banstead Manor in England. She is carrying a full sibling to Banks Hill. The latter's full brother, English and French champion Dansili, stands at Banstead Manor. His 2003 fee is £12,500.
Banks Hill's principal wins came in this year's Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard-Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) and last year's Filly & Mare Turf and Coronation Stakes (Eng-I). "The Jacques Le Marois was especially rewarding," Chandler said. "After the race, no one thought we beat anyone, then the runner-up, Domedriver, wins the (NetJets) Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT)."
Banks Hill, an overall distaff grass champion in North America, earned her European championships in different categories. She was a champion miler in England, and a champion in France at 9 1/2 to 11 furlongs.
No decision has been reached as to a mate for Banks Hill nor has it been decided if she will stay at Juddmonte near Lexington or be sent to Banstead Manor .