Leading 3-year-old Bodemeister was diagnosed with an injury to his left shoulder, and upon deliberation among veterinarians and the owners, the decision was made for him to retire to stud at WinStar Farm. Bodemeister has begun treatment and a full recovery is expected in the coming months, but the 3-year-old son of Empire Maker would not have been able to return in time for major races at the end of 2012.
“Bodemeister has a peripheral nerve injury which caused atrophy of the infraspinatus muscle in his left shoulder,” said Dr. Larry Bramlage, specialist from Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. “Obviously, this made us look at something unusual, rather than a normal lameness. His legs are perfect, but he was clinical when jogging to the left. After ruling out neck issues with X-rays and a myelogram, we feel confident in the diagnosis. It will take approximately 60 days to heal.”
According to trainer Bob Baffert, the injury likely occured a couple of weeks ago at Del Mar when Bodemeister stumbled significantly during routine training. It was enough to throw his exercise rider to the ground. “He was just never quite right after that and we couldn’t figure out what was going on with him,” said Baffert. “It’s extremely unfortunate. We wanted to win the Breeders Cup with him.”
Initial plans are for Bodemeister to rehabilitate through mid-October at WinStar before being available for inspection by breeders.
“The positive thing is that we now know what the issue is and it’s treatable. Bodemeister will be back to full health,” said Elliott Walden, President & CEO at WinStar. “Unfortunately, he would not be able to come back as a racehorse in time to make any of the year-end goals such as the Breeders’ Cup, so Mr. Zayat, Mr. Moreno and myself came to the conclusion that it was best to retire him. With his raw speed, four Beyers over 100, Empire Maker killing it, and his good looks, we think Bodemeister is the best stallion prospect this year, and we’re looking ahead to what we believe will be an exciting future at stud for Bodemeister.”
The heralded runner-up in this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1), Bodemeister is regarded as one of the fastest 3-year-olds in the country. He remains the only 3-year-old from this year’s crop to record four triple-digit Beyers, including one in his 9 1/4-length maiden romp earlier this year at Santa Anita. Bodemeister became the favorite for the Kentucky Derby after his runaway 9 1/2-length victory in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in April, and proceeded to clock some of the fastest fractions in Kentucky Derby history just three weeks later.
“You must always put the horse first, and it is in Bodemeister’s best interest to retire at this time,” said owner Ahmed Zayat. “The sportsman in me is very disappointed, because the sky was the limit for his racing career. He is the most brilliant horse that I’ve had the privilege of owning, and my family and I will miss him thrilling us in the afternoons. But every end is a new beginning, and we’ll now look forward with great anticipation to racing little Bodes in the future.”
Bodemeister, who hails from the graded stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent, retires with earnings of $1,304,800 for owners Zayat Stables LLC and Mike & Tiffany Moreno.
“Bodemeister gave me and my family the thrill of a lifetime in the Classics this year,” Mike Moreno added. “I decided to invest in him prior to the Derby because of his exquisite talent and pedigree, and although this injury kept us from fulfilling all of our dreams on the track, I look forward to supporting him in his next career.”
A stud fee will be announced at a later date. For further inquiries, contact Elliott Walden or Gerry Duffy at WinStar at 859-873-1717.