Updated on 09/16/2011 8:19AM

Japanese want Squirtle Squirt

Email
Horsephotos
If Squirtle Squirt is sold, he would not run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

ELMONT, N.Y. - A deal to sell champion sprinter Squirtle Squirt as a stallion to Japanese interests is expected to be finalized by the weekend, according to a person close to the sale. As part of the agreement, Squirtle Squirt would be immediately retired, thus unable to defend his Breeders' Cup Sprint title next month at Arlington Park.

Squirtle Squirt, currently owned by David Lanzman, would be sold to the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association, which already stands American-bred stallions including Forty Niner, Captain Steve, Boston Harbor, Dehere, Tabasco Cat, and Chief Bearhart. Completion of the deal is contingent on the results of a blood test and quarantine-related paperwork, the source said.

Until the deal is complete, Squirtle Squirt remains in training at Belmont Park, where on Saturday he worked five furlongs in 1:00.02. Trainer Bobby Frankel had been pointing Squirtle Squirt to the Phoenix Breeders' Cup Handicap at Keeneland on Oct. 5, but is resigned to the fact the horse's career is most likely over.

"I'd like to run, him but when you make a deal you got to go through with it,' Frankel said. "I'm still keeping him in training in case the blood work comes back bad, which I don't think will happen.'

Frankel took over the training of Squirtle Squirtle following his 2-year-old season, and at 3 campaigned him to victories in the King's Bishop and Breeders' Cup Sprint, which were enough to earn Squirtle Squirt an Eclipse Award as North America's top sprinter. Squirtle Squirt also gave Frankel his first victory in the Breeders' Cup series after having lost with his first 38 starters.

"I certainly won't forget him,' Frankel said.

Squirtle Squirt, a 4-year-old son of Marquetry-Lost the Code, by Lost Code, only raced twice this year. In January, he finished second behind Snow Ridge in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap. In March, while training toward a start in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap, Squirtle Squirt developed a knee chip that had to be surgically removed.

Squirtle Squirt returned in the Grade 1 Forego Handicap at Saratoga on Sept. 1 in which he finished fourth after dueling early with eventual winner Orientate.

At 2, when in the care of Joe Garcia Jr., Squirtle Squirt won four stakes, including the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship.

Squirtle Squirt would be retired with a record of 8-4-0 from 16 starts and earnings of $1,112,220.