09/29/2009 12:00AM

Better Talk Now retired with injury

Barbara D. Livingston
Better Talk Now was scheduled to make his final start Saturday at Belmont but was retired on Tuesday after injuring a suspensory ligament.

ELMONT, N.Y. - There will be no swan-song race for Better Talk Now.

Better Talk Now, the 10-year-old gelding and earner of $4.35 million in purse money, was officially retired from racing Tuesday after developing a fresh tear in the suspensory ligament of his left hind leg, trainer Graham Motion said. Better Talk Now was scheduled to make the 52nd and final start of his career in Saturday's $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park.

"It's disappointing," Motion said by phone form his base at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland. "You'd rather them go out on their own terms than being forced into doing it. It would have been nice to a have a swan song, but I guess it's not meant to be. I'd rather he was healthy than have something disastrous happen."

Motion said Better Talk Now had inflammation in his hind leg that would "come and go" throughout the year. After the gelding worked at Fair Hill on Saturday, the inflammation came back but never went away. Motion had an ultrasound performed on the leg at Fair Hill but could not find anything amiss. Motion shipped the horse to the New Bolton Medical Center, where Dr. Dean Richardson performed an ultrasound that discovered the fresh tear.

"Dean Richardson said it's a very unusual tear of the suspensory," Motion said. "That wouldn't surprise you because so few horses are around this long. It's inevitable that it's something unusual that would happen to him."

Motion said Better Talk Now would remain at Fair Hill for the foreseeable future.

"He gets turned out everyday in his paddock, no plans to change," Motion said.

Better Talk Now, a son of Talkin Man, won 14 races from 51 starts and earned $4,356,664. He was purchased by Brent Johnson's Bushwood Stables following his nine-length maiden victory in July 2002. Better Talk Now had made his first five starts for his breeder, the Wimborne Farms, and trainer Diane Perkins.

Better Talk Now won 10 stakes overall and five Grade 1 events, including the 2004 Breeders' Cup Turf at Lone Star. He won a graded stakes each year from 2003-2007.

Motion said the 2004 Breeder's Cup "was at the time and maybe still is the best day of my training career." On the day, he finished second in the Filly and Mare Turf with Film Maker and fourth in the Juvenile Fillies with Dance Away Capote.

"By the time his race came around, we were relaxed and enjoying the day having a good time," Motion said. "He was 27-1 and we never imagined he'd get up and win."

Better Talk Now would run in the next four editions of the Breeders' Cup Turf, with a second-place finish in the 2006 Turf his best result. Better Talk Now's other Grade 1 wins came in the 2004 Sword Dancer at Saratoga, the 2005 United Nations at Monmouth, the 2005 Man o' War at Belmont Park, and the 2007 Manhattan, also at Belmont. That was his last career victory.

"Being part of this horse's racing career was one of the most exciting things we and our families have ever enjoyed," Johnson said in a press release on behalf of Bushwood Stables. "His talents took us with him around the country and the world, and we will never forget those experiences or the people who shared them with us. . . . I hope his accomplishments make the rest of the racing community as proud of him as we are."