The immediate future remains unclear for undefeated Grade I winner Mastery but his long-term future is now secure.
Mastery, a top contender for the 2017 Kentucky Derby until suffering a condylar fracture in his left front leg on March 11, will stand stud at Claiborne Farm in Paris upon his retirement, the farm announced Tuesday.
Mastery underwent surgery March 13, which trainer Bob Baffert said “went very well.” He will now be given time off to recover and a decision will be made later as to his racing career.
Owner Everett Dobson of Cheyenne Stables said it’s possible for horses to come back from a condylar fracture “but he’ll have to be 100 percent to go back into training.”
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Mastery, a 3-year-old son of Candy Ride, is 4-for-4 in his racing career, including dominant victories in last year’s Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity and Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes, and this year’s Grade 2 San Felipe.
“Clearly, his pedigree and race record make him an exciting stallion prospect,” said Claiborne representative Bernie Sams. “He’s in good hands and has a bright future no matter what.”
In the San Felipe Stakes, Mastery won by nearly 7 lengths and solidified his position as a top contender for this year’s Kentucky Derby. However, the celebration was cut short immediately after the race, when jockey Mike Smith quickly dismounted sensing something was wrong. Subsequent X-rays revealed the fracture.
“We’ve been so high on this horse, and you see what he did today was just incredible and puts him as the best 3-year-old in the nation,” Baffert said after the San Felipe, before learning of the injury.
Jockey Mike Smith added, “This is a really talented horse. The power … it’s endless with this guy. He’s some kind of strong.”
We’ll just wait. It takes like 90 days for that to heal up, and then we’ll decide (if he’ll race again). Right now our main concern is to make sure he’s comfortable and happy.
Mastery was bred in Kentucky by Stone Farm. He was purchased from the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale by Cromwell Bloodstock for $425,000. Mastery has career racing earnings of $511,200.
By Candy Ride and out of the winning Old Trieste mare Steady Course, Mastery is a half-brother to stakes winner Clear Sailing. His dam is a half-sister to Jump Start, winner of the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and now the perennial leading sire of the Mid-Atlantic region. His third dam is a full-sister to the great sire Miswaki.
Baffert confirmed that Mastery is “back at the barn and looking good.” He will remain with the trainer to recover.
“He’ll stay there for at least a month,” Baffert said. “We’ll just wait. It takes like 90 days for that to heal up, and then we’ll decide (if he’ll race again). Right now our main concern is to make sure he’s comfortable and happy.”
Mastery will join a stallion roster at Claiborne Farm that includes top international sire War Front, Eclipse champions Blame and Runhappy, Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Flatter, First Samurai, Data Link, Lea, Algorithms, Ironicus and Trappe Shot.
“He’s a very exciting stallion prospect; he showed brilliance on the track,” Dobson said. “If he does retire, he’d retire undefeated, and he’s out of a very hot sire with a very good pedigree, so that’s the positive side.”