10/12/2001 12:00AM

'Albert' to retire after Cup

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Owner Tracy Farmer announced Friday that Grade 1 winner Albert the Great will retire at the end of the year and take up stud duties at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky. His stud fee will be announced at a later date.

Farmer, who will retain 100 percent ownership in the colt, said that the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park will be Albert the Great's final start.

"We've been blessed with an incredibly sound, game horse," Farmer said in a release. "How many people get to announce their horse's impending retirement, not forced by injury?"

Albert the Great, a 4-year-old Go for Gin colt, has won five graded stakes so far in his career, including last year's Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. He has finished second in five other Grade 1 contests, the 2000 Travers Stakes and the 2001 Whitney, Pimlico Special, Donn, and Woodward.

He set a Hialeah track record of 1:45.40 for 1 1/8 miles in winning the Grade 3 Widener Handicap this year.

To date, Albert the Great has a career record of 21-8-6-3 and total earnings of $2,532,490.

Albert Clay, father of Three Chimneys owner Robert Clay, bred Albert the Great. Consigned to the 1998 Keeneland September yearling sale, Albert the Great brought $85,000 from Farmer, who sent him to trainer Nick Zito.

Albert the Great is out of the stakes-placed Fappiano mare Bright Feather, who also produced stakes-winners Watch the Bird and Sheer Bliss.