06/25/2009 11:00PM

Dixie Chatter retired to stud at River Edge


Dixie Chatter, a stakes winner each of the last three seasons, has been retired from racing and will stand the 2010 breeding season at co-owner Marty Wygod's River Edge Farm in Buellton, Calif., Wygod said on Thursday.

Dixie Chatter made the final start of his career in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on May 25, finishing fifth, two lengths behind Thorn Song. Dixie Chatter emerged from that race with a tendon injury, according to Wygod and trainer Richard Mandella.

A 4-year-old by Dixie Union, Dixie Chatter was recently sent to River Edge Farm, Mandella said. Dixie Chatter retired with 4 wins in 13 starts and earnings of $464,606.

At 2, he won the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita, but was kept out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Monmouth Park because of illness. He was later diagnosed with an injury to a hind ankle that kept him out of training for two months in the winter of 2007-08.

Last year, Dixie Chatter won a division of the restricted Oceanside Stakes on turf at Del Mar. Shortly after that race, owner-breeder Herman Sarkowsky sold a share of Dixie Chatter to Marty and Pam Wygod. Dixie Chatter was later third in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita in October.

Earlier this year, Dixie Chatter won the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap and was third in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile, both on turf at Santa Anita.

By Dixie Union, Dixie Chatter is out of the Deputy Minister mare Mini Chat. He joins a stallion roster at River Edge that includes Benchmark, Bertrando, and Tribal Rule. A fee for Dixie Chatter will be determined within a month, Marty Wygod said.

"We need a good stallion like him in California," he said.

Consignor shifts base to Del Mar

Murray Smith, a prominent consignor to 2-year-olds in training sales, has relocated her operation from Ocala, Fla., to Del Mar, Calif.

Smith, 47, said she toured the Del Mar area after the Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training and decided to make the move after returning to Florida.

"For the first time, I said, 'I don't want to be here,' " she said.

Smith said she has put her 52-acre Ocala training center up for sale. The farm has 36 stalls.

"I built it from the ground up," she said.

Smith consigned the sale topper at the Barretts March sale in 2005 and 2008. She sought advice from Barretts and Del Mar racetrack officials before reaching her decision to move.

Smith said she plans to attend yearling sales to seek prospects, but has not finalized how she will operate her pinhooking operation in California. One option is to prepare the young horses at the Rancho Paseana training center, near Del Mar.

"Right now, my plan is not concrete," she said. "I'm soaking in all of Del Mar."

In addition to consigning horses, Smith has owned some horses she has been unable to sell, such as Wild Fit, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante in 2005, and Glitter City, who was second in the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park last summer. Wild Fit was later sold for $3 million.

Smith said wants to attract new owners to the sport.

"I want to bring some new blood into Thoroughbred racing," she said. "I think I can help the business as a whole. I'm going to go buy yearlings. I want to buy 2-year-olds at the sales and get people some action."