12/01/2004 1:00AM

Ginger Gold's racing days are over

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Ginger Gold, a winner of more than $1 million, will be bred to Pulpit.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Ginger Gold, a Canadian champion and a winner of more than $1 million, has been retired to the breeding shed at age 5.

Mel Lawson, owner and breeder of Ginger Gold, had hoped to have the mare make her farewell appearance here in last Sunday's Bessarabian Stakes.

But the track condition, which was sloppy, plus the fact that an old ankle problem had flared up slightly led to Ginger Gold being a race-day scratch.

"She was going so good," said Sid Attard, who has trained Ginger Gold throughout her career, "but she's done her share. I'm glad for her."

Lawson already had made arrangements to breed Ginger Gold to Pulpit at Claiborne Farm, and plans to keep both the mare and the foal.

"She's been a real nice horse," said the 81-year-old Lawson, who has been in the lumber business in Hamilton, Ontario, for 58 years.

As for the racing game, Lawson's involvement dates back a mere 40 years.

"It's been both my hobby, and my work," said Lawson. "It's been very beneficial."

Lawson, who has kept records of all his starters over the decades, counts 37 career stakes victories.

Five of those came courtesy of Ginger Gold, who retires with an overall record of 7 wins, 15 in-the-money finishes, and earnings of $1,065,448 from 25 career starts.

An Ontario-bred by Golden Gear, Ginger Gold was Canada's champion 2-year-old filly of 2001.

Ginger Gold also was a finalist in the Sovereign Award voting for her division as a 3-year-old following a campaign in which she recorded her biggest career win in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks.

Ginger Gold soon will be heading south to join her dam, Gleaming Glory, along with their fellow Lawson broodmares Destroy and Young Brodie, at Sunnyside Farm in Paris, Ky.

Lawson uses the farm as a breeding base. The mares return to Canada to foal at Curraghmore Farm in nearby Waterdown, Ontario.

Despite Ginger Gold's success, Lawson still ranks Eternal Search as his greatest racemare.

Eternal Search won 15 stakes and $642,177 during an era when a racing dollar was much harder to come by.

"I still own her," said Lawson, noting that Eternal Search is enjoying a life of leisure at Curraghmore at the age of 26. "I visited her just a couple of weeks ago."

Clouds of Gold's final start

Another solid mare who likely won't be around these parts next year is Clouds of Gold, a 5-year-old owned by The Valiant Stable and trained by Ken Parsley.

Clouds of Gold is slated to sell as a racing/broodmare prospect at Keeneland's January sale but will be stopping over on her way south to appear in the $50,000 My Charmer, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares at Turfway Park on Dec. 11.

A Kentucky-bred, Clouds of Gold will be seeking her first stakes score there but has been running very well while keeping top company this fall.

Her recent efforts include second-place finishes to Indy Groove, a subsequent Breeders' Cup Distaff contestant, in the 1 1/16-mile Autumn Leaves at Mountaineer on Sept. 28, and to One for Rose, Canada's reigning champion filly or mare, in the Grade 3, 1 1/4-mile Maple Leaf in her last start here Nov. 13.

"She's the soundest horse I've ever trained," said Parsley, who has sent out Clouds of Gold to win more than $300,000 after claiming her for $32,000 from her first career start here Nov. 1, 2002.

Ex-claimer tries Sir Barton

Cabriolass, claimed by Parsley for $25,000 here Oct. 10, is slated to make his stakes debut in Saturday's $125,000 Sir Barton.

The Sir Barton, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old colts and geldings, attracted just five nominees and as of Wednesday morning all were scheduled to participate.

"It's not often you get a chance to run in a five-horse stakes field," said Parsley. "We'll take a little shot in there."

Cabriolass won first crack out for Parsley in a $40,000 claiming race for nonwinners-of-two here Oct. 24. He then finished second, behind fellow Sir Barton hopeful Kent Ridge, in a first-level allowance for Ontario-sired nonwinners-of-three here Nov. 5. Both races were at seven furlongs.

"He worked a bullet the other day; he's in good order," said Parsley, who watched Cabriolass work five furlongs in 1:01.40 Monday under jockey Jono Jones, who has the mount for the Sir Barton.

Casse optimistic about Arch Hall

Arch Hall also is on target for the Sir Barton after winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance race for Ontario-sired nonwinners-of-two here Nov. 4.

"His last race was a strong race," said trainer Mark Casse. "I think we've got a real good shot."

Patrick Husbands, who has ridden Arch Hall in 11 of his 12 career starts, retains the mount.

Hydrogen possible for Valedictory

Hydrogen won last year's closing-day Valedictory Handicap for Casse and owner Earle Mack, and he is among the 19 nominees to this year's race.

The $125,000 Valedictory, a 1 3/4- mile race for 3-year-olds and upward, will be run Dec. 12.

Hydrogen, however, currently is with trainer Bruce Levine in New York and may run there in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Queens County Handicap, a 1 3/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward at Aqueduct.

"If he doesn't run in there, he'll come back to me here next week," said Casse.

Hydrogen made his last start in the $54,500 Shecky Greene Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Delaware Park on Nov. 6, finishing second and earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 105.