The first indication that something was wrong came the day after Monarchos galloped at Gulfstream Park. "At first, we just thought he rapped himself, and we treated it as such, just keeping an eye on it," said trainer John Ward Jr. "It subsided a little, but not enough, so we ultrasounded him and discovered the injury. He's under no stress at all, and could go out to the track and gallop tomorrow. "Monarchos, who finished third in an optional claiming/allowance race Jan. 19 at Gulfstream Park in his seasonal debut, had not run since finishing third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) last June. Several weeks after the Belmont, a sustained hairline fracture in his right front knee was discovered and he was taken out of training,.Monarchos (Maria's Mon -- Regal Band, by Dixieland Band) won the second-fastest of all Kentucky Derbys, a 1:59.97, then ran a disappointing sixth in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Monarchos, who was bred by J.D. Squires, earlier had won the Florida Derby (gr. I) and run second in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II). He was retired with four wins from 10 starts and $1.7 million in earnings.
John Oxley's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos will enter stud this year at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky. The 4-year-old son of Maria's Mon will stand for $25,000 live foal, with Oxley retaining about 40% interest in the colt. The remaining interest will be syndicated under the management of farm president Seth Hancock. Oxley said he expects Monarchos to be ready to breed about March 1 and to cover about 85 mares this season. I have the highest regard for Seth Hancock and Claiborne," Oxley said. "Claiborne and the many fine clients they are associated with will assure an exclusive book of mares for the imporant first four years and thereafter."Monarchos was retired from racing because of an injury of the left front medial branch of the superficial digital flexor tendon. The full extent of the injury was discovered Jan. 27 following an ultrasound examination.