When To Retire?

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 21, 2008 in General Discussion, News | No Comments >>

Many were upset to hear that Curlin will be hanging up his shoes, and moving on to make little Curlin’s.

He will stand at Lane’s End Farm for $75,000, and is the richest racehorse in North America. He earned over $10 million dollars, and made his mark in history. We now await his strong-fast-durable bloodlines for years to come.  There is one runner who caught my eye over the years. I just wish they would have ended his career a little sooner.

Shadwell home-bred Shakis, who won the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) for the second consecutive year this summer at Saratoga, was euthanized at Hollywood Park the morning of Nov. 21st after breaking his hind leg during a workout. The 8-year-old Irish-bred son of Machiavellian was making his final work prior to running in the Citation Handicap (gr. IT) on Nov. 29th, which was expected to be his final start before beginning his stud career in 2009.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who was in New York at the time of the accident, said Shakis took a bad step while galloping out after the half-mile breeze.

“He broke his sesamoid and fractured his pastern,” McLaughlin said by phone. “He was in very bad shape and there was nothing that could be done. It was just one of those things where he took a bad step after galloping out.”

“It’s very sad. It’s an unfortunate part of this business. He was one of my favorites, one of the barn’s favorites, and one of the farm and owner’s favorites. To have an 8-year-old race the way he did the last two years was very special.”

McLaughlin said Shakis showed no signs of any problems in the days leading up to the accident.

“My brother said he was training great. He was out there last week and went over him completely. He was just loving the synthetic track in California. It was just an unfortunate accident.”

Shakis, who is out of the Nashwan mare Tawaaded, was 7-5-5 from 35 career starts with earnings of $860,532. The first three years of his racing career were spent in France, where he was group stakes-placed twice. The dark bay horse spent the next two and half seasons in Dubai, before shipping into McLaughlin’s barn in New York in 2007.

Shakis won three of 12 starts in the U.S., including the two victories in the Bernard Baruch – his only two graded stakes triumphs. Most recently, Shakis finished last in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) on Oct. 25th at Santa Anita.

Appreciate them while they are here. Soon they move on, and only a memory remains.