Arcangelo is out. White Abarrio is in.
Mage is in. Cody’s Wish is out.
And so it goes in the wealthy world of thoroughbred breeders following the 40th Breeders’ Cup. Many of the popular horses from 2023 are now retired: male racehorses to stud duty; and female racehorses as broodmares.
As we enter the final six weeks of the year, here’s a sampling of some stars currently scheduled to run in 2024, and others now settling into their new roles.
Victories in the Whitney (G1) and the BC Classic (G1) closed out a wacky and wonderful year for this nearly white 4-year-old colt. Rick Dutrow, Jr., returned from a 10-year ban, took over as trainer for White Abarrio, and has a 5-year-old campaign already planned out: the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) in February, the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) in March, the $1 million Whitney in August, and back to the $6 million Classic in November.
“It’s one of those things,” co-owner Ramiro Restrepo said. “It sums up horse racing, right? A lot of things happen outside of your control. They’re animals, so you have to be their stewards.”
The winner of the Belmont Stakes (G1) and Travers (G1) missed the Classic with a foot issue, then underwent surgery for a condylar fracture in his left hind leg and is expected to stand at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky with a stud fee set at $35,000.
Jenna Antonucci became the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race with this 3-year-old ridgling, a top contender for an Eclipse Award as a 3-year-old male champion.
“Certainly, racing fans are disappointed, but we also dare to hope that this talented athlete goes on to a fine stallion career at Lane’s End and that the Arrogate legacy continues on,’’ Antonucci posted recently on Instagram.
The best story in racing in 2023 was Cody’s Wish, the Godolphin-owned 5-year-old who closed out his career by winning a second straight BC Dirt Mile by a nose over Preakness winner National Treasure on Nov. 4.
A day later, 17-year-old Cody Dorman, who was trackside with his family at Santa Anita for his namesake’s victory, passed away following a “medical event’’ on his trip home to Kentucky. Cody Dorman was born with the rare genetic disorder Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, and the effects include delayed growth and development, intellectual disability, low muscle tone, and seizures. He used a wheelchair.
Cody’s Wish is a strong contender for Horse of the Year with four victories in five races in 2023 – the Churchill Downs (G1), the Met Mile (G1), the Vosburgh (G2), and the Dirt Mile (G1). He won 11 of 16 races, with four seconds and a third for earnings over $3 million.
He stands at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky, with a $75,000 stud fee.
A few other Eclipse Award winners, and soon-to-be Eclipse Award winners have been retired, including:
Proxy: A Grade 1 winner who finished third in the Classic, Proxy will stand for $25,000 at Darley’s Jonabell Farm. The 5-year-old son of Tapit earned more than $2.7 million with a record of 20-6-7-3.
Rich Strike: The 2021 Derby winner at 80-1 odds was retired due to soreness in his front legs, according to owner Rick Dawson. The 4-year-old with a racing record of 14-2-1-3 is scheduled to be offered as a stallion prospect at Keeneland’s Horses of Racing Age Sale on Nov. 17. After his Derby win, he was 0-for-6.
Elite Power: Two-time winner of the BC Sprint (G1) and likely to earn another Eclipse Award, was retired to Juddmonte Farm with a stud fee of $50,000 The 5-year-old son of Curlin won four of five this year, the Riyadh Dirt Sprint (G3), the True North (G2), the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1), and the Sprint. He earned more than $3.7 million with nine victories in 13 career starts.
Ace Impact is (6-for-6), three-time Grade 1 winner Clairiere; 2022 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Secret Oath; Gunite (21-9-8-2, $2.5 million in earnings, standing for $35,000 at Ashford Stud), and 2022 Blue Grass (G1) and 2023 Woodward (G2) winner Zandon (stud fee $12,500 at Spendthrift).
Auguste Rodin: Among the leading international stars, the winner of the BC Turf (G1) was supposed to be retired, but will be back in training for a 2024 campaign. He ran six times in six Grade 1 races and won four of them – the Betfred Derby, the Irish Derby, the Irish Champion Stakes, and the Turf and has career earnings of nearly $5 million. Trainer Aidan O’Brien said all the top races will be open, including the BC Classic on dirt.
Goodnight Olive, a two-time winner of the BC Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), was recently auctioned for $6 million to John Stewart, who plans a 6-year-old campaign for the daughter of Ghostzapper, with a goal of third win the Filly & Mare Sprint.
Equinox: The world’s ranked horse, Japan-bred Equinox is scheduled to run in the Japan Cup (G1) on Nov. 6. The 4-year-old colt has won five Grade 1s in a row dating to October 2022, most recently the Tenno Sho Autumn. He’s 3-for-3 in 2023, and seven of nine with two seconds for earnings of over $12 million.
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.