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Multiple Graded Winner Never Retreat Retired

Never Retreat, who had been scheduled to make her final career start in next Saturday’s $100,000 Marshua’s River (G3) at Gulfstream Park, has been retired and on her way to Lexington, Ky. for a date with War Front.

The 6-year-old turf star, who captured the Honey Fox (G3) at Gulfstream last year, had originally been scheduled to retire after the Matriarch (G1) on Nov. 25. A third-place finish as the odds-on favorite at Hollywood Park prompted trainer Chris Block to give Never Retreat a chance to retire with a victory in the Marshua’s River.

“She had a little issue in the foot that caused her to miss a work or two, so we decided to go ahead and retire her,” Block said. “It would have been her last race anyway if we had made it. She’s on the way to Lexington to be bred.”

Purchased privately following her 3-year-old season, the daughter of Smart Strike won seven stakes for Team Block, including five graded stakes. All of her graded-stakes triumphs, including a Grade 1 score in the First Lady at Keeneland on Oct.8, came last year, starting with a length victory in the Honey Fox on March 5.

“The Honey Fox last year at Gulfstream kind of jump started her season. We learned something about her that day that she doesn’t necessarily be back off the pace. She could be forwardly placed. That’s what we used going forward for her races for the rest of the season,” Block said. “We kind of forwardly placed her and that seemed to be where she enjoy and ran her best.”

Her Grade 1 victory, of course, was the highlight of her career.

“Our expectations were to win a Grade 3 with her when we bought her and never expected to win a Grade 1,” said Block, who has also recently retired Giant Oak, the winner of last year’s Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park.

Despite the departures of two Grade 1 stakes winners from his stable, Block still has several stakes winners to campaign this year, including Askbut I Won’ttell, who is being pointed to the $150,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream on Jan. 28. The 5-year-old multiple graded-stakes winner finished second in last year’s edition of the race, beaten just a half length by A Trip for A.J. after a wide trip.

Askbut I Wont’tell is coming off a poor showing in the South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream on Dec. 11.

“She had a little issue last time. She bled in the South Beach. We think we’re going to have her set up better this time in the Sunshine Millions,” Block said. “She’s training good and will have a workout this weekend on the turf.”   

 

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