WinStar Farm's homebred Super Saver, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby, has been retired because of bruising in his cannon bones and will enter stud at Kenny Troutt's racing and breeding operation for the 2011 season.
A stud fee has not yet been announced.
Super Saver gave WinStar and trainer Todd Pletcher their first Kentucky Derby victories when he romped over the sloppy track under jockey Calvin Borel to capture the first leg of the Triple Crown by 21/2 lengths.
The son of Maria's Mon went off form after that, however, finishing off the board in the Preakness Stakes, Haskell Invitational and Travers Stakes before being diagnosed with the bone bruising in all four legs.
"The bone bruising ... which limited his performance during the latter half of this year, should subside with time. However, it created a slight risk that he would not return to the form he showed as a 2-year-old and through the Kentucky Derby," Elliott Walden, vice president and racing manager of WinStar, said in a release. "He has nothing more to prove."
Before his eighth-place run in the Preakness, Super Saver had never finished worse than fourth in seven previous starts. The bay colt came home a respectable fourth behind Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky in the Grade I Haskell, but it was his 10th-place effort in the Travers — beaten by 241/4 lengths — that tipped off his connections.
"He always showed a lot of grit until after the Derby, and I think that kind of told us there were some hidden issues that, until he went to Dr. (Larry) Bramlage, we didn't understand," said Doug Cauthen, president of WinStar Farm.
Troutt recently bought out his longtime partner, Bill Casner, for sole ownership of WinStar, but Cauthen said that shift had no impact on the decision to retire Super Saver.
After breaking his maiden by 7 lengths his second time out at Belmont last September, Super Saver capped his four-race juvenile campaign by winning the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill last November in a stakes-record time of 1:42.83 for the 11⁄16-mile race.
Following a third-place run in his season debut in the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby this March, Super Saver was beaten by a neck by Line of David in the Grade I Arkansas Derby. Stablemate Eskendereya was considered the top hope to end Pletcher's 0-for-24 record in the Derby leading up to this year's race. But it was Super Saver who trained superbly at Churchill and claimed the roses when the injured Eskendereya had to miss the Derby.
"His stakes-record performance in the (Kentucky) Jockey Club told me he was a Derby horse," Pletcher said. "I just had to harness that speed and get him ready."
Out of the A.P. Indy mare Supercharger — who is a full sister to She's a Winner, dam of Grade I winner and fellow WinStar stallion Bluegrass Cat — Super Saver retires with three wins from 10 starts and $1,889,766 in earnings.
"You know, he was the one," Cauthen said. "After all the good horses Todd's had and that we've had, he's the one that put it all together. (The Derby) was and always will be a magnificent moment, and I think it is foretelling of what he can throw because he was a Derby horse, and he does have a Derby pedigree. He's got Derby potential for his offspring."