winner of three Grade 1 races on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA)
circuit, and earner of nearly $1.5 million, was retired today, according to
trainer Bobby Ribaudo.
“We were getting ready to go to Canada a few weeks ago, and his
ankle flared up,” Ribaudo said. “Although the tests are now fine,
we didn’t think it would be worth the risk of continuing to race
Owned by Marc Keller, the 7-year-old son of Grand Lodge was one of the
most successful long-distance turf horses ever on the NYRA circuit, winning
back-to-back editions of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga Race
Course (2007-08) and taking the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational
(2008) at Belmont Park by an astounding 10 ¼ lengths. He also won the Grade 2
Bowling Green Handicap (2009) at Belmont
“He lived and trained in New
York for the last five years,” Ribaudo said.
“Marc and I are New York
guys and we wanted to run him here as much as possible. The Belmont oval in particular really suited his
breathtaking come-from-behind style.”
The trainer added that, for him, the biggest thrill of Grand
Couturier’s career was his first Sword Dancer triumph.
“That race was simply incredible,” he said. “Not only
the way that he won, but the fact that he beat English Channel, who went on to
win the Breeders’ Cup Turf and be named turf champion that year.”
Out of the Sadler’s Wells mare Lady Elgar, Grand Couturier had a
record of 8-1-6 from 28 lifetime starts, earning $1,449,701. In addition to his
four graded stakes wins, he also had top three performances in six additional
graded stakes, including thirds in the 2009 Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic,
the 2007 Grade 1 Man o’War at Belmont, and the 2006 Grade 1 Sword Dancer.
Ribaudo said that stud plans have yet to be determined.