Barbara Hunter’s homebred Keertana, who last year became the first filly or mare to win the Louisville Handicap (GIII) since Our Request in 1951, has been bred and is retired from racing.
The dark bay/brown daughter of Johar won a breathtaking three-horse photo over Bearpath and Guys Reward
at Churchill Downs last May in the Louisville, which was her last race
of 2011. Keertana began her 6-year-old campaign with a third-place
finish in the Endeavour (GIII) at Tampa Bay Downs in February.
After a third-place effort in the Orchid (GIII) at Gulfstream Park
in March, Keertana was bred to Arch, who stands at Claiborne Farm. While
plans for her next start had not been determined, Keertana was placed
back in training after she was determined to be in foal and trainer Tom Proctor
had planned to keep the 6-year-old mare running through the summer. She
breezed four furlongs at Churchill Downs in :51.20 on April 27.
But plans have changed. Proctor said on Saturday that Keertana’s
racing days are over and she is now at Hunter’s farm in central
“We just decided it was time,” Proctor said. “She was nothing but a
pleasure. I’ll miss her. She might not be the best filly I’ve ever
trained, but she’s one of my favorites. I use to bring people in the
barn and let them pet her. It was pretty cool to have an earner of $1
million that you can walk up to and pet.”
Keertana won 11 times, including five graded stakes, in 29 starts and
earned $1,031,938. Outside of her win over males in the Louisville,
Keertana’s finest outing could have been a third-place run behind Shared Account and European star Midday in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI). She lost that race by only a half-length.
Another Hunter homebred Snow Top Mountain
has been bred, but she will remain in training. The 5-year-old daughter
of Najran was bred to Blame and she will be pointed to the Early Times
Mint Julep Handicap (GIII), which is to be run on the Matt Winn Turf
Course at Churchill Downs on June 2.
Snow Top Mountain and Keertana are both out of the Storm Cat mare Motokiks.
It is not uncommon for mares to stay in training during the early months of their pregnancy. In fact, Magdalena Racing’s My Baby Baby won last year’s Early Times Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs while in foal to two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.