01/16/2018 12:32PM

Lady Eli retired, will be bred to War Front

Ronnie Betor
Lady Eli won two Grade 1 stakes in 2017, the Gamely and the Diana (above).

Multiple Grade 1 winner and Eclipse Award finalist Lady Eli has officially been retired from racing and will be sold in foal later this year, her connections announced Tuesday.

The 6-year-old Divine Park mare was stepped on, lost a hind shoe, and suffered significant cuts to her hind legs during the early stages of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf last November, finishing seventh -- worse than second for the only time in her career. She had been cataloged for the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, as her ownership, Sheep Pond Partners, is a racing group, not a breeding outfit, but her injuries forced her withdrawal. She recovered at Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Kentucky while her connections decided her next move, with discussions over a return to the races ultimately scrapped. Instead, Lady Eli will be covered by popular commercial sire War Front, and will be cataloged for the 2018 Keeneland November sale. Hill 'n' Dale will consign.

"We have been wrestling with the very difficult decision of whether or race or retire Lady Eli since we scratched her from the Keeneland November sale days after she was injured in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf," co-owners Sol Kumin and Jay Hanley of Sheep Pond Partners said in a release issued Tuesday. "As her stewards, we -- with [trainer Chad Brown's] guidance at every turn -- have tried to shepherd Lady Eli through her racing career with the utmost respect, compassion, and love for her as a living being first, and secondarily as a racehorse. It is in this spirit that we have ultimately chosen to retire Lady Eli from racing and allow her to gracefully -- and safely -- begin her career as a broodmare."

Lady Eli, who became one of the most popular horses in training after overcoming a battle with laminitis to return to top-level racing, concludes her career with a record of 14-10-3-0 and earnings of $2,959,800. She posted Grade 1 victories in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, 2015 Belmont Oaks, 2016 Flower Bowl Stakes, and last year's Gamely Stakes and Diana Stakes. She also finished second, beaten a nose, in the 2016 Filly and Mare Turf; was beaten a head in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland last spring, and won four other stakes.

Lady Eli, who was a finalist for Eclipse Award outstanding 2-year-old filly of 2014 and turf female of 2016, is again a finalist for the turf female award, to be presented Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park. Her co-finalists are Wuheida, who won the Filly and Mare Turf, and Off Limits.