11/14/2002 12:00AM

Leading 3-year-old filly Farda Amiga retired

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Farda Amiga, who won the two biggest races of the year for 3-year-old fillies, has been retired following an injury that she apparently sustained while running second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff on Oct. 26. Her trainer, Paulo Lobo, announced the retirement Thursday morning at Hollywood Park.

"I am sorry to announce that she is retired," Lobo said. "She can't run 100 percent, so the owners have decided to retire her."

Lobo declined to describe the exact nature of the injury. He said Farda Amiga would soon be sent to Kentucky, where she will be bred next spring. Lobo said a stallion had yet to be chosen for Farda Amiga.

Farda Amiga was scheduled to race next year at age 4. She ran eight times in her career, six times in 2002, and won four races and $1,282,302.

Lobo was saddened Farda Amiga could not race again.

"It's terrible," he said. "She brought to me so many things."

Farda Amiga, a daughter of Broad Brush, scored the biggest victory of her career in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks, in which she was a 20-1 outsider. Her victory led to a raucous winner's circle celebration, with her Brazilian connections waving their country's flag.

Because she took ill soon after the Oaks, Farda Amiga did not race again until Aug. 17, in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. Despite a brief work schedule, a cross-country trip, and the Alabama's 1 1/4-mile distance, Farda Amiga proved up to the challenge, rallying to beat Take Charge Lady by 1 1/4 lengths. Many rival trainers hailed Lobo's feat as one of the greatest training jobs they had ever seen.

Farda Amiga ran so well off an extended layoff in the Alabama that Lobo decided to employ similar strategy heading into the Breeders' Cup. Farda Amiga rallied strongly to take second in the Distaff, losing only to Azeri, the leading candidate for Horse of the Year.

Farda Amiga is a leading contender for the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly. The other main contenders for that title include Imperial Gesture, Take Charge Lady, and You.

"I think she deserves the title," Lobo said. "She beat Imperial Gesture twice, beat You twice, and beat Take Charge Lady twice."