10/06/2001 11:00PM

Beautiful Pleasure, A P Valentine retired


ELMONT, N.Y. _ Coming off disappointing sixth-place finishes in their respective Grade 1 races on Saturday at Belmont Park, Beautiful Pleasure and A P Valentine have been retired, their connections announced Sunday morning.

Beautiful Pleasure, the 1999 champion older filly, finished sixth, beaten 15 lengths by Exogenous in Saturday's Beldame Stakes. It was her fourth loss in as many starts this year and her sixth consecutive defeat dating back to Aug. 25, 2000.

"She is officially retired," trainer John Ward said Sunday afternoon. "We had a carefully planned schedule of progressions and she was meeting each one of the progressions. In the Personal Ensign," where Beautiful Pleasure finished second, "it looked like we were on track. In the Beldame, it looked we were off track. We just thought it best to go ahead and retire her."

Donna Ward, who oversees the training of Beautiful Pleasure for her husband John, said there was no viable excuse for the mare's poor performance. Ward did say that Beautiful Pleasure tore off her right front shoe and needed to be re-shod 20 minutes prior to coming to the paddock.

Beautiful Pleasure, a daughter of Maudlin-Beautiful Bid, by Baldski, won 10 of 24 starts including six Grade 1 races. She retires with earnings of $2,734,078 for John and Debby Oxley.

Meanwhile, trainer Nick Zito said A P Valentine bled while finishing sixth, 29 1/2 lengths behind Aptitude in Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup. He was scheduled to ship to Coolmore Stud in Lexington, where he will stand at stud next year. Coolmore purchased A P Valentine, a son of A P Indy-Twenty Eight Carat, by Alydar, for a reported $15 million prior to last year's Breeders' Cup.

A P Valentine, who won the Grade 1 Champagne as a 2-year-old but never won another stakes, retired with a record of 3-2-2 from 13 starts and earnings of 864,170. Racing for basketball coach Rick Pitino's Ol' Memorial Stable, A P Valentine finished second in both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.