Unshaded, winning the 2000 running of the Travers Stakes.

Unshaded, winning the 2000 running of the Travers Stakes.

Matt Goins

Grade I Winner Unshaded Injured, Retired

James Tafel's Unshaded, winner of the 2000 Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) has been retired from racing after suffering a recurrence of a tendon injury during a workout this week at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Carl Nafzger said the 5-year-old gelded son of Unbridled was injured during a Sunday workout at Churchill Downs. Unshaded breezed four furlongs in :48.60 over a fast track and Nafzger said the problem with the tendon in his left fore surfaced after that training move. He suffered the same injury in winning the Travers as a 3-year-old and did not return to competition for nine months. He had a similar layoff after aggravating the injury last fall at Saratoga, but returned this spring with a solid campaign in which he finished second to Mr. John in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker (gr. III) and scored a three-quarter length victory in a one-mile allowance race on the turf on Oct. 23 at Keeneland. It was the only turf start of Unshaded's career.

"He's going to be retired," said Nafzger. "He'll never be sold or anything. There's a chance that he could become a steeplechase horse--they say tendon horses do good there. We might put him in dressage--we don't know yet. Mr. Tafel hasn't decided."
Nafzger said that Tafel will have the final say on the direction Unshaded might take in his life away from the racetrack.

"If anyone takes him to make a dressage horse or whatever, if they don't like him or don't want him he has to come back to Mr. Tafel," he said.

Unshaded emerged as a major horse early in his 3-year-old season with his win in the Coolmore Lexington. He was a supplemental entry to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Visa Triple Crown, but was excluded from the 2000 Run for the Roses because preference was given to original Triple Crown nominees. Unshaded finished third to Commendable in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Nafzger set the Travers as his gelding's major goal for the year. In the Travers, Unshaded won in a photo finish over Albert The Great, but suffered his first tendon injury and did not race again that season.

Tafel's star raced 20 times over four seasons and fashioned a career record 6-3-3 and earned $1,318,492. Unshaded raced 11 times over two seasons following his first tendon injury and compiled 2-2-0 record with earnings of $259,844.

Unshaded will stay in Nafzger's shedrow for a while before he heads to his new life on the farm. He will be warmly remembered by his trainer, who saddled Unshaded's sire to win the 1990 Kentucky Derby. Unshaded never returned to the form he displayed before he suffered what Nafzger described as a bowed tendon in his left fore in his signature victory in the Travers, but still displayed considerable talent and determination after that injury.

"He's been great," said Nafzger. "He doesn't owe anybody anything. He's a great horse."