10/06/2003 12:00AM

Bird Town's racing career over

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Bird Town, winner of the Kentucky Oaks and Acorn and a leading contender for this year's Eclipse Award for 3-year-old filly, has been retired, her connections announced on Monday.

Bird Town, owned by Marylou Whitney and trained by Nick Zito, finished second to Sightseek in last Saturday's Grade 1 Beldame Stakes at Saratoga. Whitney had previously stated that she did not want to run Bird Town in the Breeders' Cup Distaff as a 3-year-old and wants to breed her next year. A stallion has not yet been picked out. Bird Town, who retires sound, will be boarded at Gainesway Farm.

"Marylou's of the belief that when you have a filly like that you don't overrun them," said John Hendrickson, Whitney's husband and president of Marylou Whitney Stables. "Running against older horses is not for the Bird. There's nothing left for her to do."

Bird Town, a daughter of Cape Town out of the Storm Bird mare Dear Birdie, retired with a record of 4-6-1 from 12 career starts and earnings of $871,251. In May, she upset the Kentucky Oaks at odds of 18-1, overcoming a stumbling start to win by 3 1/4 lengths. She came back to win the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont by a head over Lady Tak.

Bird Town, an older half-sister to Champagne winner Birdstone, finished second to Lady Tak in the Test and ran a disappointing fifth in the Alabama before running second to Sightseek in the Beldame.

"I think she should be the leading candidate for 3-year-old filly,'' Hendrickson said.