07/27/2005 12:00AM

Madcap Escapade retired with leg injury


Madcap Escapade, one of the nation's top female sprinters, has torn a ligament in her left front leg and has been retired, trainer Frank Brothers said Tuesday.

Brothers said Madcap Escapade was "off" shortly after a victory in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney Stakes at Calder on July 10. She was then sent to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., where Dr. Larry Bramlage diagnosed her torn ligament following an MRI.

"It's an injury that can heal somewhat with a lot of time off, but it has a history of reoccurring," Brothers said. "It's just not worth the chance with her."

Brothers, who trained such standout colts as 1991 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Hansel and 1997 Blue Grass Stakes winner Pulpit, said Madcap Escapade was "absolutely the best filly I've ever trained and probably one of the most brilliant filly sprinters that I've seen. She was probably the best (sprinter) of her generation for sure, and maybe the best of a lot of generations."

A 4-year-old daughter of Hennessy bred by Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds and James Blackburn, Madcap Escapade was 7-0-1 in nine career starts and had earnings of $1,052,852. She won five graded stakes, including the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland in 2004, for owner Bruce Lunsford.

Brothers said Madcap Escapade will be sent to Claiborne Farm, where she will await the next breeding season.