Stonestreet Stables and WinStar Farm announced Thursday that multiple Grade I winner has been retired from racing due to a chip in the lower joint of his right knee, and will stand stud at WinStar in 2016.
Carpe Diem had not raced since finishing 10th in this year’s Kentucky Derby. The son of Giant’s Causeway had only posted two workouts since late May with the most recent being a four-furlong move in 48.77 at Saratoga on July 12.
“Carpe Diem is as good as any young horse WinStar has ever been involved with, and it’s always bittersweet when you retire a colt of his quality, particularly knowing we likely never got to see his best,” WinStar Farm president and CEO Elliott Walden said in a release. “The positive is that he is an extremely exciting stallion prospect.
“In the Kentucky Derby, we were in perfect position, but when he switched leads going into the far turn I felt something wasn’t right,” Walden continued. “After missing the Belmont, we brought him home to evaluate him and try to get him back for the Haskell. However, a chip finally revealed itself in the lower joint of his right knee, and that can be problematic. I believe his raw ability puts him among the top of this talented group of 3-year-olds, which is probably the best group of runners we’ve had in years. It’s unfortunate, but given where we’re at in the season and what would be in front of him, Mrs. Banke, John Moynihan, and I just felt like retirement was the best option.”
$1.6 million sale topper at last year’s OBS March sale purchased in partnership by WinStar and Stonestreet, Carpe Diem lived up to his reputation in his 2-year-old debut at Saratoga, overcoming the rail post position to draw away to a 2 ½-length win. The chestnut colt captured the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in his second career start and capped off his juvenile campaign with a runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
“The impressive thing about Carpe Diem, to me, is his ability to run 5 ½ furlongs in a tough maiden race at Saratoga and then stretch out to win Grade I races around two turns,” said Pletcher. “It is unfortunate his career ended so soon because I feel like he had more Grade I wins in him.”
Carpe Diem started his 3-year-old campaign in Florida, where he scored an authoritative five-length win in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby before returning to Keeneland in April to score a three-length triumph in the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes, his final Kentucky Derby prep race.
Bred by Coffee Pot Stable, Carpe Diem retires with four wins from six starts and earnings of $1,519,800.
A stud fee for Carpe Diem will be announced at a later date.
“Carpe Diem was a standout physical at the 2-year-olds-in-training sales, and quickly demonstrated his precocious speed, breaking his maiden at first asking as a juvenile at Saratoga,” said Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Farm. “Carpe Diem offers breeders a great opportunity with conformation, speed, and stamina all packaged within an outstanding pedigree.”