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SBD Global/April 18, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Racehorse Black Caviar Retires After Unbeaten 25-Race Career; Owners Consider Suitors

Australian champion Black Caviar retired after unblemished career.
Australian racehorse BLACK CAVIAR "has been retired after an unbeaten 25-race career," according to Brendan Cormick of THE AUSTRALIAN. Trainer PETER MOODY said, "We thought long and hard about racing on but believe she has done everything we asked of her and felt it was the right time to call time on her wonderful career." Black Caviar's racing career started at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne on April 18, 2009 and ends with $7.9M in the bank. She has twice been crowned Australian Horse of the Year, and "bows out at the top of the world rankings and has 15 Group I wins." Black Caviar's unbeaten record "was unequalled in more than 100 years" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/17). BLOOMBERG's Dan Baynes wrote as well as attracting sellout crowds and headlines in Australia, "where she has graced the front cover of fashion magazine Vogue," Black Caviar gained int'l attention in June "when she held off an elite field to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at England's Royal Ascot in a photo finish." She was patted by QUEEN ELIZABETH II "following her triumph." Moody said that "he and the owners expected that she would be retired after the Ascot race and her three victories in Australia this year were all bonuses" (BLOOMBERG, 4/17). SKY NEWS reported her part-owner NEIL WERRETT and Moody "fought back tears as they broke the news." The end of Black Caviar's "invincible career came at Randwick last Saturday with her 25th win from as many starts" -- and one which led to Wednesday's decision (SKY NEWS, 4/18).

CHOOSING A SUITOR: In Melbourne, John Stensholt wrote Black Caviar "will now begin a lucrative career in breeding." Her owners "are keen to maintain ownership of Black Caviar's progeny," who could be racing in as little as three to four years. Black Caviar "provided a huge boost to the racing industry, attracting capacity crowds at tracks around the country throughout her career." Werrett said that he "would not reveal which would be the first horse to service Black Caviar though bookmakers have already installed stallion Fastnet Rock, based at the Coolmore Stud in the Hunter Valley in NSW," as the favorite (AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW, 4/18). In London, Michael Cooper wrote Black Caviar's retirement has sparked speculation "that she could one day meet the great FRANKEL to produce the world's most valuable offspring." Her potential match-up with Frankel "would be the talk of racing since the British champion retired last year," also unbeaten after 14 races (EVENING STANDARD, 4/17). Also in London, Chris McGrath wrote her owners "are being coy on her behalf, with the claims of many other suitors likely to be pressed by the world's top stud farms." Now that they have retired Black Caviar, however, "only one stallion can remotely match her CV as one of the great achievers of the modern Turf." And a foal "produced by a tryst between the giant Australian mare and Frankel would surely be one of the most priceless in the 300-year history of their breed." And the bottom line is that "the stakes are probably greater than the odds warrant." For the global breeding industry, which turns over billions every year, "both hangs and falls on the fitful reliability of its eugenic principles." Frankel and Black Caviar "could achieve a genetic apogee; and they could produce a dud" (INDEPENDENT, 4/17).

LEAVING A LEGACY: The BBC's Cornelius Lysaght wrote Black Caviar "has earned a never-to-be-forgotten chapter in the history of world racing." As though the imperious style of her unbeaten record was not enough, "the extraordinary razzmatazz that went with the mare" -- the adoration, the centerfolds, the merchandising etc. -- "will ensure that" (BBC, 4/17). In London, Greg Wood wrote the numbers that tell the real story of Black Caviar "are the thousands she put on the gate when she ran, the new fans she brought to racing and the excitement and anticipation that followed her around, both on the track and away from it too." She "was arguably the first great racehorse of the social media age," with countless followers on Facebook and Twitter. Her racing career "was a shared experience, and all the more intense as a result" (GUARDIAN, 4/17). In Sydney, Ray Thomas wrote Black Caviar's name "nestles comfortably in the pantheon of all-time greats" like PHAR LAP, KINGSTON TOWN, BERNBOROUGH, TULLOCH, CARBINE, RISING FAST, MIGHT AND POWER and MAKYBE DIVA. But Black Caviar "did something none of those legends could achieve" -- she retires unbeaten. Undefeated champions are a rare jewel in racing and only one thoroughbred in world racing boasts a superior record -- "but you need to go back nearly 150 years to find that horse," Hungarian mare KINCSEM, winner of 54 starts (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 4/18).
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