Updated on 09/16/2011 6:46AM

Flute and Unbridled Elaine retired with ankle injuries

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Unbridled Elaine has retired from racing and will be bred this spring.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Ankle injuries have ended the racing careers of two of last year's top 3-year-old fillies. Kentucky Oaks winner Flute* and Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine* have been retired from racing and will be bred this spring.

Flute was in light training at Hollywood Park with Bobby Frankel, who suspected a problem two weeks ago after Flute jogged. X-rays revealed a chip in her left front ankle that she probably raced with last year, when she won four races and $1,101,504 from eight starts.

Flute is owned and was bred in Kentucky by Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms. She is an Eclipse Award finalist for champion 3-year-old filly of 2001.

John Chandler, Juddmonte's United States racing manager, said Tuesday that no decision has been made regarding a stallion for Flute. The filly is scheduled to leave California on Thursday and arrive the same day at Juddmonte's farm in Lexington, Ky.

A daughter of Seattle Slew, Flute also won the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga last year. She finished second in the Santa Anita Oaks and Beldame. Flute's final start was a seventh-place finish in the BC Distaff. Original plans had called for her to race as a 4-year-old.

"I think she could have been great," Frankel said, "but she's done enough. I'd rather she go the breeding shed sound than a cripple."

Flute could have undergone surgery and raced again, but the prognosis was not as positive for Unbridled Elaine, who had been stabled at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Owner Roger Devenport decided to retire Unbridled Elaine after the discovery of injuries to both ankles.

A daughter of Unbridled's Song, Unbridled Elaine won six races and $1,770,740 from 11 starts.

According to Devenport, a chip in Unbridled Elaine's right front ankle could have been removed without compromise, but veterinarians told him damage to her left ankle was "so bad it'll take months to heal, and she might never be as good as she was." Devenport said he hadn't been aware of any problem with her left ankle.

The unexpected disclosure of Unbridled Elaine's left ankle injury did not sit well with Devenport. He said he would remove his horses - he said he has eight to 10 - from trainer Dallas Stewart on Wednesday morning and transfer them to Tom Amoss.

Stewart was Unbridled Elaine's trainer early in her career and for her last two starts, including the Distaff. David Vance trained Unbridled Elaine for four races last year and lost the filly to Stewart only one week before the Breeders' Cup.

Devenport, 82, said Unbridled Elaine would remain at his 6D Ranch in Lexington. He was considering breeding her to Thunder Gulch or Rahy.



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