05/27/2014 10:10AM

Intense Holiday retired, stud plans pending

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Tom Keyser
Starlight Racing retired Grade 2 Intense Holiday Tuesday after the colt was injured while training for the Belmont Stakes.

Grade 2 winner Intense Holiday, injured over the weekend while preparing for a start in the Belmont Stakes, has been retired from racing, owner Starlight Racing announced in a release Tuesday. Stud plans have not been finalized.

Intense Holiday was vanned off the track after breezing the morning of May 25 at Belmont Park, and was diagnosed with a condylar fracture to his right front leg. He underwent surgery, performed by equine surgeon Dr. Patti Hogan, the following day. The fracture was mended, but retirement was advised.

“You never get used to this stuff,” said Starlight Racing co-managing partner Jack Wolf, who was at Belmont Park the morning the injury occurred. “It’s disappointing, but the horse did not seem to be in much distress right after the injury and we’re happy that they were able to repair the injury to the extent that they could.  He’s a good horse – a talented horse – who has provided us with some thrilling finishes.  But whether they’re worth $5,000 or $5 million, this is always a bitter pill to swallow.”

Intense Holiday stamped himself as a 3-year-old of note earlier in the year with a nose victory in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, followed by a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. He finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby on May 3, and, following that outing, underwent an extensive post-race exam before returning to New York to aim for the final leg of the Triple Crown.

“This injury was more frustrating than most because, after a disappointing finish in the Kentucky Derby, Intense Holiday underwent a thorough veterinary exam, including nuclear scintigraphy and digital X-rays,” said Dr. Foster Northrop, Starlight’s primary veterinarian. “All of his results came back clean and he was shipped to Belmont Park where, by all accounts, he had been training very well.”

Intense Holiday won two of nine starts and earned $551,900. Starlight Racing is currently in negotiations with several stallion farms regarding Intense Holiday’s stud career.

Intense Holiday was purchased by Starlight for $380,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. The colt is a son of the late Harlan’s Holiday, whom Starlight campaigned to multiple Grade 1 victories.

Intense Holiday is the lone winner from two starters out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Intensify. Out of Grade 1-placed Her She Shawklit, Intensify is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner and millionaire Crafty Shaw, and to stakes winner Her She Kisses. Her She Shawklit is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Mr. Shawklit, stakes winner Shawklit Man, Grade 1-placed Shawklit Won, and stakes producer Shawklit Delight.