06/04/2001 11:00PM

Golden Ballet retired


ARCADIA, Calif. - A bowed tendon has ended the racing career of the brilliant 3-year-old filly Golden Ballet. She sustained the injury during a workout Tuesday morning at Santa Anita.

Golden Ballet was in the middle of a five-furlong drill when jockey Chris McCarron felt something give in her left front. McCarron pulled up Golden Ballet near the quarter pole, jumped off, and summoned the horse ambulance. Trainer Jenine Sahadi rushed to the filly, who was able to walk back to the barn on her own. Tendon injuries are not considered life-threatening, and Golden Ballet was not in obvious pain late Tuesday morning.

The injury abruptly halts the racing career of the California-bred speedster, a daughter of Moscow Ballet with six wins and earnings of $732,145 from 10 starts. Golden Ballet was the country's most accomplished 3-year-old filly this year, scoring Grade 1 wins in the Santa Anita Oaks and Las Virgenes Stakes, in addition to Grade 2 triumphs in the Railbird and Santa Ynez Stakes. As a 2-year-old last season, Golden Ballet won the Nursery and Cinderella stakes.

Golden Ballet is owned by a Team Valor partnership and Bill Heiligbrodt, who purchased her from trainer Jerry Dutton following her win in the Nursery Stakes last May. The filly scored an eight-length win for her new connections in June, was off until January, then dominated the 3-year-old filly division last winter at Santa Anita. Each of her wins was in her front-running style.

The injury crushed Sahadi, who late last year lost Santa Anita Derby winner The Deputy with a bowed tendon. Golden Ballet, whose only loss for Sahadi was a runner-up finish in the Ashland Stakes, was one of a kind for Sahadi. "I've never had a horse like her, one with that much speed. She was so honest and she never ran a bad race."

In her most recent start, on May 19, Golden Ballet won the Railbird at Hollywood Park and was training for the Princess Stakes on June 16. Team Valor president Barry Irwin said the filly would be sent to Kentucky to be bred next spring, then sold. No determination has been made regarding a stallion.

Irwin noted that four of Team Valor's star horses - Captain Bodgit, The Deputy, My Memoirs, and Golden Ballet - "bowed after a very fast race."

He said, "I know it sounds like a cliche, but some horses are just too fast for their own good." According to Irwin, the partnership that owned Golden Ballet turned down an offer of $4 million for her before her runner-up finish in the Ashland.