Spain, Thoroughbred racing's all-time leading female money earner, has been retired from racing. She leaves the track with a record of 9-9-7 in 35 races with earnings of $3,540,542.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas announced the retirement on Tuesday, saying Spain's owners, Prince Ahmed Salman's Thoroughbred Corp., had decided to send her to Robert N. Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky., where she will concentrate on her next career as a broodmare. Spain is currently in foal to leading sire Storm Cat.
The daughter of Thunder Gulch was bred following her victory in the Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day. The winner's share of the Louisville Breeders' Cup purse pushed Spain's earnings past the Lukas-trained Serena's Song to give her the title of leading female money earner.
After being pronounced in foal, Spain won the June 15 Fleur De Lis Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs and two weeks later, June 22, finished third in the Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Monmouth Park.
"I think they took the position that adding on to the (earnings) record is nice, but it really has no significance (on her breeding career) and, God forbid, something would happen to her," Lukas said. "There were no more worlds to conquer, it looked like. So they were just comfortable with sending her to the farm."
The highlight of Spain's career came when she scored a 50-1 upset in the 2000 $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I). She came close to back-to-back Distaff wins, but she lost by a head to the stretch-running Unbridled Elaine in the 2001 renewal at Belmont Park.
"She had a great career," Lukas said. "We'll always think we should have won both Breeders' Cup races. It was terrible that we got beat that second time as well as she ran. It was probably one of the best races of her life and she was second."