06/29/2008 11:00PM

Heatseeker retired with suspensory injury


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Santa Anita Handicap winner Heatseeker has been retired with a suspensory injury. The Giant’s Causeway horse had been scratched from the Hollywood Gold Cup last week.

“We are extremely disappointed, as we had our sights set on the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, where we figured to be one of the favorites based on Heatseeker’s dominance of his division this year,” owner William de Burgh said in announcing the injury.

Heatseeker sustained a soft tissue injury to a branch of his suspensory ligament in his left foreleg, which his connections estimated would require a six-month layoff, “although he is currently galloping and jogging sound,” de Burgh’s announcement noted. De Burgh opted to retire the 5-year-old due to his value as a stud prospect and the recuperation time he would require.

Richard Barnes bred Heatseeker in Ireland from his Defensive Play mare Rusty Back. At 2, Heatseeker won his first two starts in Ireland before finishing third behind George Washington in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh. Shipped to the U.S. late in his 3-year-old season, he finished eighth in his only start. But he rebounded at 4 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, winning three races including the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap.

This year, Heatseeker has won both the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap and the Grade 2 Californian. Heatseeker retires with a lifetime record of seven wins and three stakes wins – all graded – from 17 starts. He earned $1,177,776.

No stud decision has been made yet for Heatseeker.