DEL MAR, Calif. — Lady Eli, who suffered significant cuts to her hind legs during Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar, has been withdrawn from Tuesday’s Keeneland November sale, it was announced Sunday.
Lady Eli got stepped on during the early stages of the Filly and Mare Turf, a race in which she finished seventh behind Wuheida. Lady Eli lost a left hind shoe and suffered lacerations to both hind legs.
Lady Eli was flown to Kentucky from Southern California on Sunday morning but went to Hill ‘N Dale Farms in Lexington, where she will get an undetermined amount of stall rest before a decision is made on her future.
“Obviously, it’s terribly disappointing we’re not able to sell a mare of her quality, but it’s an honor to be around world-class horses and that’s what we’re continually in search of,” said John Sikura, head of Hill ‘N Dale, which was listed as the consignor for owners Sol Kumin and Jay Hanley of Sheep Pond Partners.
“When you get a call from the owner or trainer saying the mare’s not going to be in the proper condition to sell, you can’t have any other reaction but first, foremost, and always, the priority is the health of the horse.”
Lady Eli’s future is undetermined and all options are on the table, according to Kumin.
“We honestly haven’t talked about it,” Kumin said Sunday afternoon. “Everything is an option. We’ll make sure she’s good. My guess is she’s going to need at least a month, then we’ll sit down and figure it out. There’s selling here in January, putting her in foal and selling her [later], there’s racing her. We’ll have lots of options down the road.”
Lady Eli, a daughter of Divine Park, became one of the most popular horses in training after overcoming a case of laminitis to make it back to the top level of racing. Prior to the Breeders’ Cup, Lady Eli won the Grade 1 Gamely at Santa Anita, the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga, and the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga.
The upset victory by the European-based Wuheida, who won the Filly and Mare Turf by one length over Rhododendron, leaves the door open for Lady Eli to win an Eclipse Award that has, to date, eluded her in a career where she has won 10 of 14 starts including five Grade 1 stakes.
“I feel she’s done enough to earn that championship that we’ve been looking for for her,” Brown said. “I haven’t seen a turf mare this season in America that’s performed better than her.”
— additional reporting by Nicole Russo