Early exit for USA Horse of the Year

Havre de Grace has been retired after sustaining a ligament injury to her off-foreleg.  The 2011 USA Horse of the Year pulled up lame after a workout at Churchill Downs on Sunday.

Fox Hill Farm owner Rick Porter announced her retirement on Monday.  “Owning Grace has been the highlight of my time in horse racing,” Porter said.  “She was a wonderful, wonderful racehorse and I feel confident she will be an equally wonderful broodmare.”

Havre de Grace (5m Saint Liam – Easter Bunnette by Carson City) was trained by Larry Jones and returned to action this year winning the New Orleans Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds on March 17.  The Kentucky bred mare won 9 of her 16 starts for earnings of $2.58 million.

She became the third female in a row to claim Horse of the Year honours after Rachel Alexander (2009) and Zenyatta (2010).

Purchased for $380,000 from Mill Ridge at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale, Havre de Grace peaked in 2011 with early victories in the G3 Azeri Stakes and G1 Apple Blossom Hcp.

She then easily captured G3 Delaware Park’s Obeah Stakes and then beat the males in the G1 Woodward before destroying Royal Delta in the G1 Beldame Stakes.  The runner-up franked that from in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

Porter will put Havre de Grace on the market but if a deal can’t be struck to sell her privately, the mare will be catalogued for the Keeneland November Sale or Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Sale.