08/11/2003 12:00AM

Affirmed Success retired


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Affirmed Success, one of the most popular horses on the New York circuit for the last several years, has been retired at age 9.

Affirmed Success, a multiple stakes winner with earnings of $2,285,315, had not run since finishing last in the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 12. The Kentucky-bred son of Affirmed came out of the Carter with an injury to his right front ankle.

Richard Schosberg trained Affirmed Success throughout his career for Alfred Fried Jr., who also bred the gelding. Schosberg was preparing Affirmed Success for a return to the races when the ankle flared up following his first workout since the Carter last week.

"We decided it was just too much to go through to try and come back," Schosberg said Monday morning at his Saratoga barn. "And he certainly doesn't need to prove anything to anybody."

Affirmed Success will be vanned to Fried's Buttonwood Farm in Rhinebeck, N.Y., later this week. Fried said there is a strong possibility that Affirmed Success will become a resident of the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., which is home to several renowned Thoroughbreds, including Cigar and John Henry.

"He has given a lot of pleasure to an awful lot of people," Fried said.

Affirmed Success competed in 33 stakes races and won 10 of them during his 42-race career. He first raced at 3, winning a maiden race at Aqueduct on May 11, 1997. His stakes wins include Grade 1 triumphs in the Carter, Cigar Mile, and Vosburgh.

Affirmed Success also was a stakes winner on the grass and won back-to-back runnings of the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont Park. He competed in four Breeders' Cup races, with his best finish a fourth in the 2000 Mile.

Affirmed Success won at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, but his optimum trip and surface was seven furlongs on the dirt.

He retires with 17 wins, 10 seconds, and 6 thirds.

"He is irreplaceable," Schosberg said. "I'll never even try to expect to have another horse like this."

Five riders rode Affirmed Success during his career. Richard Migliore was aboard the gelding for his final 10 starts, including wins in last year's Carter and back-to-back victories in the Toboggan.

Migliore, as he patted his chest, said what makes Affirmed Success special is his heart.

"Even when he went out there and wasn't crazy about the track or warmed up stiff - when the gates opened, he wanted to run," Migliore said. "He didn't want to lose. When he got beat, he would be visibly mad with his ears pinned."