This was a retirement piece that I didn't think I would be writing so quickly.
Following wins in the Preakness and the Haskell and a fourth place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic, it was assumed that Lookin At Lucky would be at the head of the class going into his four-year-old season in 2011. Instead, he was sold to Coolmore and raced to the breeding shed in order to start churning out little horses.
There has been no announcement of injury or sickness to Lookin At Lucky, and quotes from Bob Baffert in the Blood-Horse indicate that the horses is entirely sound. Injury was an unlikely reason as I seriously doubt that Coolmore would be plopping down what is sure to be a decent chunk of change in order to get their hands on him if something was physically wrong. Instead, it looks like the same old, same old from the breeding industry and their excitement to add to their farm. Below is the quote from Coolmore regarding the acquisition of Lookin At Lucky from that same BloodHorse.com article:
"The purchase of Lookin At Lucky underlines Coolmore's commitment to stay at the forefront of American breeding, and we couldn't be more delighted to add him to the team," said Dermot Ryan, Ashford Stud's manager. "His race record is outstanding and his pedigree contains Mr. Prospector and Danzig, two of the most potent forces of the last 30 years or so." (Emphasis added)
Not to pick on Coolmore, cause they are not the only ones with this problem, but it would be nice if they were as committed to American racing as they are American breeding. But maybe that's just me.
As a horse racing fan I'm not sure which is more frustrating: horses retired due to injury or due to the allure of stud fees. Both are so common that I should be used to news like this but, honestly, it's still a disappointment. Sometimes it's much easier to simply follow low-level claimers.
In terms of the big picture, the 2011 older horse division will be about as thin as it can be on returning talent. In essence it's Fly Down and a bunch of horses that don't really fit in the Classic division. Paddy O'Prado is better on turf. First Dude? Well, the list of horses he's finished 2nd to this past year are dwindling fast. Sidney's Candy is, in my opinion, not a 10 furlong horse and is clearly better on the grass at a mile. Morning Line? The Dirt Mile was the right spot for him; seems like a stretch for the Classic. Who else is there? Twirling Candy? Seems like he's another that's better on grass. Apart? He was solid in the Super Derby but there wasn't a whole lot behind him that day.
Perhaps Zenyatta should have come back for one more year.