Another highly decorated race mare will walk away from the track less than a year after being crowned Horse of the Year. For Havre de Grace, retirement literally came on the heel of an injury. Following a workout at Churchill Downs, the 5-year-old mare showed signs of heat in her right front ankle on Sunday, April 22.
The next day renowned veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage examined Havre de Grace at Rood and Riddle hospital in Lexington, KY and delivered less than favorable news to owner Rick Porter: Havre de Grace will require a lengthy layoff after tearing a ligament that attaches to the sesamoid bone. This type of injury leaves the remaining ligaments vulnerable and if she were to return to racing, would not be able to compete at the same level.
While this news brings great disappointment to Porter, trainer Larry Jones, and throngs of racing fans, the daughter of Saint Liam will be able to have a second career as a broodmare. According to Dr. Bramlage’s vet report, “She needs no special therapy if we are not going to train again as the remaining ligaments are intact… She will be fine as a broodmare.”
So what’s next for the daughter of Saint Liam? Possibly a trip to the Keeneland or Fasig-Tipton sales in November if she is not sold before then. Porter will be selling Havre de Grace, privately or at an auction, and has already gotten several inquiries. She has a sterling pedigree from top to bottom, including Mr. Prospector on her dam’s side. Couple that with career earnings over $2.5 million, and she appears to be quite the package of breeding potential.
The retirement of Havre de Grace is much preferable to the risk of sustaining further injury to the point of being a life-threatening problem. But that does not lessen the blow to racing fans who loved watching the brilliant bay take down her competition time and again. She closes her career with a record of 9 – 4 – 2 out of 16 lifetime races.