07/17/2001 11:00PM

Champion Perfect Sting retired

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ELMONT, N.Y. - , the champion female turf horse of 2000 who suffered a tendon injury in her last start, has been retired, according to her trainer, Joe Orseno.

Perfect Sting, 5, sustained torn fibers in the tendon of her right foreleg when she finished sixth against colts in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont on June 9. She was sent to owner Frank Stronach's farm in Ocala, Fla., for recuperation. Although Orseno said Perfect Sting could make a full recovery, she wouldn't be ready in time to defend her title in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf in October.

"She just needed more time off to get ready," Orseno said. "She wouldn't have been ready until January; we're going to breed her in February."

Perfect Sting won five of six starts in 2000, capped by a three-quarter-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, which earned her an Eclipse Award as the top turf mare in the country. She made a successful 2001 debut in April, winning the Grade 2 Black Helen Handicap at Hialeah.

In the Manhattan, her first start against colts, Perfect Sting had to check slightly entering the clubhouse turn and was jostled between rivals approaching the stretch, which led to the injury.

Orseno said no concrete plans have been made for Perfect Sting's breeding. A daughter of Red Ransom, Perfect Sting retired with a record of 14-3-0 from 21 starts and earnings of $2,202,042. She won 11 stakes, including nine graded events.

"On one side of the coin, you're really disappointed, but when I see what happened to License Fee, I'm relieved," Orseno said, referring to the mare who suffered a fatal breakdown in the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park. "When any horse gets hurt you feel bad, but if something ever happened to her . . . I don't know, she's like family."

for Perfect Sting's lifetime PP's.