08/29/2004 12:00AM

Lion Heart injured, retired


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Lion Heart suffered a broken bone in his right front foot while running last in Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes and will be retired, trainer Patrick Biancone said.

Biancone said the injury would take four to six months to heal, thus forcing Lion Heart to miss the Breeders' Cup Classic. Owners Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, who purchased Lion Heart for $1.4 million, felt it best to retire the horse while still relatively healthy.

"Our plan was the Travers and Breeders' Cup and after that we'd see," Biancone said. "Injuries were not in our plan. We had a lovely road with him, but it's the end of the road. We are going to miss him because he was very important to me and my staff. He changed our lives this year.

"This horse has been extremely generous, he give his heart every time he runs," Biancone added. "We'll have to find another one."

Lion Heart, a son Tale of the Cat, won 5 of 10 starts including the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity at 2, and the Grade 1 Haskell at 3. His other stakes wins included the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue, and the Grade 3 Long Branch. He also finished second to Smarty Jones in the Kentucky Derby.

Lion Heart was sent off the 5-2 favorite in the Travers based on his Haskell win. He set a moderate pace through six furlongs, but gave way nearing the top of the stretch.

Lion Heart retires with $1,390,800 in earnings.