07/20/2011 3:40PM

Emerald Downs: Margo's Gift retired, will become show horse


AUBURN, Wash. – Margo’s Gift, who made Northwest racing proud when he splashed to a stakes victory on the Breeders’ Cup undercard in 2007, has been retired, trainer Doris Harwood said Tuesday.

Margo’s Gift had been entered to run in a $25,000 claiming race last Sunday. He was scratched, not because of injury or soundness issues, Harwood said, but because owner Kenny Alhadeff wasn’t comfortable with the prospect of losing the best horse he ever owned.

Harwood and Alhadeff picked Margo’s Gift out of the 2007 Washington mixed sale for $10,000, and he went on to amass $356,507 in earnings. He won four stakes at Emerald Downs, but his crowning achievement came at the end of his 2-year-old season, when he scored an improbable victory in the $250,000 Favorite Trick Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park. Expertly ridden by Ricky Frazier, Margo’s Gift rallied through traffic on the turn to win going away. He paid $55.40. A day later, his stablemate, Smarty Deb, ran fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, an unforgettable weekend for Harwood.

“There isn’t any way to describe what it felt like to win at that level,” she said. “Even though it was an undercard race, still to be there with the top trainers, the top horses, to have our Washington-bred not only win the race, but win it convincingly, was just an incredible thing. And to bring him home and know he was going to be ours forever . . . it was a very special event in my life.”

Margo’s Gift recorded his final stakes victory in June of his 3-year-old season and ceased being a factor in stakes company a couple of years ago. He won two allowance sprints in 2010 and was a close fourth in a fast allowance race in his final start on May 28. He leaves with a record of 9 wins from 28 starts.

Margo’s Gift shipped out from Emerald Downs on Monday for a second career as a show horse. He’ll reside on a farm in southwest Washington, under the care of trainer Britt Roden.

“Britt will re-train him,” Harwood said. “He’ll be in the show horse arena, three-day eventing, dressage, whatever he turns out to be good at. “And Mr. Alhadeff will continue to support the horse until his last breath. It’s been emotional for both of us. I’ve had him since he was a baby. He was like a puppy, and we spoiled him. I sent him off with a bucket of red licorice and off to a new life.”