Flaxman Holdings’ homebred Main Sequence, the reigning champion turf male and champion older male, has been retired because of a tendon tear in his left front leg, his connections announced Monday.
Alan Cooper, racing manager for Flaxman Holdings, said in a statement that “a thorough veterinary examination was carried out last week” after Main Sequence finished seventh in the Grade I United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 5. That outing was the first start for the 6-year-old gelding since his seventh-place run in the Dubai Sheema Classic on March 28 and marked the first loss that the son of Aldebaran had suffered in North America.
When reached by the Herald-Leader on Monday, trainer Graham Motion added that the injury is one that is not typically career-ending but that all involved believed it was not worth the risk with a horse who has already proven his class.
“He’s perfectly sound, but I think everyone feels he doesn’t owe anyone anything and we’ve had a great run with him,” Motion said. “It’s certainly an injury he could come back from but to bring him back a year older after being a champion just doesn’t seem fair, it just doesn’t seem right.”
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Main Sequence began his career with trainer David Lanigan in Europe, winning his first four career starts, but was transferred stateside to Motion for 2014 after enduring a 10-race losing skid in England.
The venture nearly took a tragic turn right off the bat as Main Sequence spent a month in a clinic in New York after becoming sick while in quarantine. Once back at full strength, the chestnut gelding bulled his way through the North American turf ranks, winning four consecutive Grade I races in the second half of 2014 including his half-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1.
Main Sequence picked up where he left off during his 2015 season debut, bursting through under jockey Rajiv Maragh to defeat rival Twilight Eclipse in the Grade II Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 21. His Dubai venture saw him fade after racing closer up than normal and his usual late burst of speed was absent – now understandably so – in the United Nations.
“I mean he’s a horse of a lifetime,” Motion said. “Horses like him and (2011 Kentucky Derby winner) Animal Kingdom, you hope you get horses as good but you don’t get horses that duplicate what they do because they’re special horses. At the end of the day, I’m very fortunate to have had him. He’s going to have a great life, he’s in great shape. This is something he’ll recover from.
“You want these things to go on forever but that’s not reality, is it?”
Motion added that Main Sequence would likely ship from his base at Fair Hill to his brother Andrew Motion’s farm in Virginia to begin his healing process.
Main Sequence retires with nine wins from 21 career starts and $3,428,666 in earnings.
News of Main Sequence’s retirement is the latest unfortunate news in what been a brutal handful of days in the Thoroughbred industry. Maragh, regular rider for Main Sequence, remains hospitalized in New York after suffering several fractured vertebrae in his back, a broken rib, and a small lung puncture in a spill at Belmont Park on July 10.
On Sunday, it was reported by multiple outlets that reigning Horse of the Year California Chrome was likely out for the year due to cannon bone bruising and Monday also brought news that undefeated Grade I winner Lady Eli was battling laminitis in both front feet after stepping on a nail with her left front foot while walking back to the barn after her win in the Grade I Belmont Oaks on July 4.