Bowie-based Dance to Bristol was honored in a retirement ceremony by the Maryland Jockey Club between the fourth and fifth races Nov. 16 at Laurel Park following her stellar 4-year-old campaign.
The filly, on hand in the Laurel winner's circle, was retired following a sixth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 2.
It was an emotional scene for her human connections, who were warmly received by the crowd.
Owned by Taneytown resident Susan Wantz and trained by Ollie Figgins III, Dance to Bristol tallied victories in seven of her 10 starts this year, including three graded stakes.
In the coming days, Dance to Bristol leaves for Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington, Ky., to start her new career as a broodmare.
"She's a wonderful horse and she's going to be bred to War Front ," said Wantz. "We did what was best for her. It was a really hard decision. Everyone wanted her. We knew we weren't going to sell her. We wanted to have a say. She couldn't leave the country. She couldn't be resold. We're looking forward to seeing her beautiful babies."
The daughter of Speightstown , teamed with jockey Xavier Perez, reeled off seven straight victories from February through August, including a win in the Skipat Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Preakness weekend, and three graded races in New York: Bed Of Roses (gr. III), Honorable Miss (gr. II) and Ballerina (gr. I).
"This is a very special and emotional day for all of us," said Figgins. "She was up for every challenge we gave her. She was a great horse to train and it was a pleasure to have her in my barn."
"It's hard for me, knowing this is the last day we will see her," said Perez. "She was amazing. She took me to places I had never been. I had my first graded race experience and Breeders' Cup with her. I'm going to miss her."
Dance To Bristol finished her career with 10 wins and eight second-place finishes in 20 career starts for earnings of $980,880. The chestnut filly raced nine times in Maryland with five victories and four runner-up finishes. She broke her maiden on Oct. 29, 2011 at Laurel and also captured the 2012 Marshua Stakes at the central Maryland track.