The owner of Paddy O’Prado said Monday that the winner of the Dixie Stakes has been retired with a right leg injury.
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The sesamoid injury was discovered after the 4-year-old colt returned to the barn following his victory Saturday in the race just before the Preakness.
Trainer Dale Romans said Paddy O’Prado looked fine after the race, which came following a six-month layoff. But a veterinarian noticed the colt was soon limping noticeably, and X-rays taken Sunday confirmed the career-ending injury.
”He was noticeably sore. He wasn’t in any distress, but we knew there was a problem,” Romans said. ”We think he’ll make a great sire and really could have an impact on American racing in the future. He’s a big, strong, sound horse. It’s just a bad-step type of injury.”
Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing made the announcement, calling Paddy O’Prado’s retirement a ”bittersweet” moment for himself and his partners.
”We’re still caught up in the sadness of what might have been. I suspect Paddy’s caught up in the joy of what will be,” Crawford said. ”He’s just given us so much. He’s the kind of horse that, as someone once said, lets you look courage and grace and fire right in the eye.”
The 4-year-old Paddy O’Prado excelled on the turf, winning 5 of 15 career starts and earning $1.7 million. The horse was third in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, sixth in the Preakness and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. On turf, he won twice in Virginia along with the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park.
The Dixie was the first start in 2011 for Paddy O’Prado, who many felt was best thoroughbred ever owned largely by Iowans.
As such, the horse developed a wide following in Iowa.
”The state just adopted this horse as their own,” said Crawford, who lives in Des Moines. ”He came to be known that way, as Iowa’s horse, and I think it’s something the state won’t forget soon.”