Grade I Steeplechaser Retired

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Veteran steeplechaser Dark Equation, entered for today’s Grade I New York Turf Writers Cup, has been retired with the recurrence of an ankle injury. 

Owned by Peggy Steinman and trained by Doug Fout, the 9-year-old had ankle surgery last year, but had made three starts this year and was prepping for a return to top competition level. Fout said precautionary X-rays revealed a weakening of the ankle, and made retirement the only choice after four wins and $245,342 earned over jumps.

“He doesn’t owe anybody anything, so he’ll retire,” said Fout. “It’s sad, but I’m glad nothing happened to him. He galloped Tuesday and moved better than he ever has. He’s been great – sound, bucking, kicking, happy and we were really looking forward to running him.”

Fout had the ankle X-rayed before each of the horse’s starts this year, and the set taken this week showed some deterioration.

Fout said Virginia-based veterinarian Dr. Nat White noticed the changes on the X-ray Wednesday morning and helped make the call.

“We have five sets of X-rays to compare it to and where the old fracture is, the bottom part, is getting weak,” Fout said. “It’s right in the joint and we don’t want to take a chance.”

Dark Equation won the Turf Writers and finished second in the A.P. Smithwick in 2008, and won an allowance hurdle at Saratoga in 2007.

Bred in Pennsylvania by Derry Meeting Farm and London Thoroughbred Services, the son of Polish Numbers won twice on the flat (including once at Saratoga) for trainer Christophe Clement and placed fourth in the Grade III Lawrence Realization in 2004. For his career, flat and jump, he raced 35 times, won six and earned $344,525. He will return to Fout’s farm in Virginia as a mount for the trainer’s teenage daughter Caroline.


– Joe Clancy