02/23/2012 5:33PM

Key Contender, New York stallion, pensioned

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New York stallion and Grade 1 winner Key Contender has been pensioned from stud duty and will live out his days at Old Friends New York, Highcliff Farm announced Thursday.

Highcliff stood the 24-year-old Fit to Fight horse on behalf of Carl Lizza, who died last year, since 1996. Lizza’s Flying Zee Stable campaigned the Rokeby Stables-bred horse before his retirement to stud. Key Contender won the 1995 Suburban Handicap. he placed in five other stakes, all graded, during his career, including second-place finishes in back-to-back runnings of the Stuyvesant Handicap in 1992 and ’93. He also set two track records: 1:34.72 over a mile at Saratoga in 1992 and 1:39.92 over 1 1/16 miles at Belmont in 1994.

Key Contender sired such runners as multiple stakes-winners Weathered and Ask Queenie.

Key Contender’s relocation from Highcliff in Delanson, N.Y., to Old Friends’s facility at Cabin Creek Farm in Greenfield Center came about after Highcliff manager and resident veterinarian Dr. Lynwood O’Cain and his wife Suzie worked out the arrangements with the Lizza estate and Old Friends.

“Key Contender has been such a wonderful stallion to care for during his time at HIghcliff,” Lynwood O’Cain said. “We will visit him regularly, and I am happy to take care of his vet work during his lifetime.”