HAVRE DE GRACE, the 2011 Horse of the Year, was scheduled to race next on May 4 at Churchill Downs, the day before the Kentucky Derby. Sadly, the 5-year-old mare won't make that race or any others. Her owner, Wilmington's Rick Porter, announced on his Fox Hill Farm website Monday afternoon that she suffered an injury to her right front ankle, apparently during a Sunday workout, and has to be retired.
Hers was a ligament injury that would take a year to resolve, with a strong chance it could recur and the great likelihood she would never be able to compete at the same level again.
"Owning Grace through her racing career has been the highlight of my career in horse racing," Porter wrote on the website.
Havre de Grace began her career in August 2009 at Delaware Park. She won the 2010 Cotillion at Parx Racing, beating her nemesis, Blind Luck, by a neck. Last year, Havre de Grace won five of her seven starts. The highlight was beating males in the Woodward at Saratoga. She finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic, also against males.
The mare raced just once this year, easily winning the New Orleans Ladies on March 17. Porter really wanted to run her in the Delaware Handicap this summer, a race she lost by a nose to Blind Luck last year.
Havre de Grace finishes her career with nine wins, four seconds and two thirds in 16 races and earnings of $2,586,175. She won seven stakes and, if it had not been for Blind Luck, she would have won 10.
Tony Dutrow trained her through her 3-year-old season. Larry Jones took over last year. In an era of inconsistent horses, Havre de Grace never ran a poor race.
Now, she will be bred. Breeding season is over in a month so there is still time to breed her this year.
Havre de Grace was by 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam. So, a Horse of the Year by another Horse of the Year certainly will be in demand. Maybe they can breed her to Curlin, the last non-female Horse of the Year before we had Rachel Alexandra (2009), Zenyatta (2010) and Havre de Grace.