Leading Horse of the Year candidate Point Given has been retired because of a strain to the suspensory tendon of his left foreleg, trainer Bob Baffert announced on Friday. The strain was detected on Thursday morning, when Point Given had been expected to return to the track for the first time after his victory in last Saturday's Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. "I've had to retire a lot of good horses, but I never felt like this," Baffert said. "We were just beginning to tap into his greatness."
Central Kentucky-based stallion Thunder Gulch advanced to the top of the 2001 sire list by progeny earnings when the $900,000 from Point Given's triumph in the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) were added to his total.
Point Given, winner of the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) earlier this year, continued his quest toward the Aug. 5 Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) with a six-furlong drill Wednesday morning at Del Mar.
After 4-5 favorite Starrer unseated jockey Chris McCarron just after the start, 11-1 Tweedside went on to win Saturday's $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), giving sire Thunder Gulch a sweep of Belmont Park's 1 1/2-mile main track stakes races for 3-year-olds. McCarron was uninjured in the mishap.
The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training ended its two-day stand on Tuesday in Timonium, Md., with mixed results. On the positive side, the number sold and gross revenue both increased while the buy-back rate declined. The average price, however, suffered a moderate setback, and the median price fell significantly.
Central Kentucky stallion Fly So Free moved to the top of the leading sires list once the $3.6 million earned by his son Captain Steve in the March 24 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) was added to his total, and now it appears that he will stay at the top for quite some time.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Point Given first got my attention last year in the 1 1/16-mile Champagne Stakes (gr. I).
The 11 top stallions from last week's 2001 leading sires list continue to hold down the fort. Cee's Tizzy, with $1,324,440, and Maria's Mon, with $1,160,703, remain one-two, and Allen's Prospect continues to hold down the ninth spot. The other seven just switched positions.
How do you get a classic winner? Do you build up a broodmare band, then nurture the resulting offspring and race them as homebreds? Or do you leave all the work associated with foal production to someone else and go shopping at one of the many sales that offer young horses? Combing the sales for classic prospects is a viable option. In fact, during the past 15 years, most winners of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Preakness (gr. I), and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) were offered at public auction prior to their classic triumphs.
From Thunder Gulch's second crop, Point Given appears poised to make a run at the 2001 Derby, giving the Mr. Prospector line another strong player to extend the dynasty. If successful, Thunder Gulch would join Unbridled (Grindstone) as the most recent Derby winner to sire a Derby winner.
Officials at Ashford Stud haven't made it easier for breeders hoping to get to farm stallion Thunder Gulch. Ashford initially announced a fee of $25,000 for the dual classic-winning grandson of Mr. Prospector, then later upped it to $30,000, then to $40,000. Now it's $50,000.
Millennium Wind, a half-brother of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic, will likely face Breeders Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner-up Point Given in the $200,000 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), Saturday at Hollywood Park.
The connection between the Breeders' Cup races and stud fees for the upcoming breeding season became readily apparent when Irish-based Coolmore Stud announced that it was raising its fees for two of its established stallions -- Honour and Glory and Thunder Gulch -- and for an incoming stallion -- Giant's Causeway -- from previously published prices.
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