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Grand Couturier Retired

Grand Couturier, 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 him.”


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 Park.


“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.


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