SI Vault
Edited by Bruce Newman
August 08, 1988
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August 08, 1988


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Risen Star won eight of 11 career starts and seemed to improve with every race. In a spectacular performance in the Belmont Stakes on June 11, he won by 14� lengths in 2:26[2/5], a time surpassed only by that of his sire, Secretariat. The Belmont came after Risen Star had suffered his injury, which curiously didn't seem to bother him either during or immediately after the race. In fact, the colt's owners spoke of running him in Saratoga's Travers Stakes on Aug. 20 and the Breeders' Cup races at Churchill Downs in November.

Shortly thereafter, a 50% share of Risen Star was sold for $7.4 million to Walmac International farm of Lexington, Ky. When that decision was made, the horse's owners suddenly deemed it more prudent to send Risen Star to the breeding shed rather than back to the racetrack, where he risked mishap or loss of reputation. So he has joined the ranks of Devil's Bag, Conquistador Cielo and Spend A Buck—all of whom were retired before the end of their 3-year-old seasons—instead of the ranks of the great thoroughbreds.

The real losers, of course, are the fans who support horse racing and won't get to see Risen Star run again. In the exuberance that followed the Belmont, Risen Star's other owner. Ron Lamarque, proclaimed, "You haven't seen the best of this horse yet." And now, sadly, we never will.

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