04/04/2007 12:00AM

Miesque's Approval retired

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Miesque's Approval will not return to the U.S. following his 15th-place finish in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Stakes.

According to trainer Marty Wolfson, a deal to sell Miesque's Approval to breeding interests in the Southern Hemisphere will be completed by owner Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation within the next several days. Wolfson said the Dubai Duty Free was the final start of Miesque's Approval amazing career, and the end of a Cinderella story that saw the former claimer win both the Breeders' Cup Mile and an Eclipse Award at the age of 7.

The homebred Miesque's Approval was beaten running for a $50,000 claiming tag in his 2005 finale, but returned to win 5 of 7 starts and nearly $2 million during his championship campaign, which ended with a 2 3/4-length triumph over Aragornat odds of 24-1 in the Mile.

Miesque's Approval also won the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile, Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap, Grade 3 Red Bank, and the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Park last year.

The Dubai Duty Free was the second dull performance for Miesque's Approval since the Mile. He finished a non-threatening fifth as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap here on Feb. 3.

"They can't race on any medication in Dubai, which is a disadvantage for most if not all the American horses - and especially an 8-year-old like Miesque's Approval, who is kind of arthritic," said Wolfson.

"I spoke to jockey Eddie Castro afterwards and he said the horse just never picked up the bit and was never comfortable, and once he realized he wasn't running his race he didn't abuse him. I truly believe the Breeders' Cup was such a tough effort that it just drained him to the point he was never the same again."

Wolfson said the loss of Miesque's Approval will leave as big a hole in his heart as it will in his stable.

"He certainly was a special horse, and I'll miss him an awful lot," said Wolfson. "He reminded me of a line from a Neil Diamond song that went, 'Did you ever hear about a frog who dreamed of being a king and became one.' I compare him to that, a horse who was a lost soul and wound up becoming a king by winning the Eclipse Award; the kind of animal who should give all owners and trainers hope that any horse can come back no matter how down and out they seem to be."

Emptying out

With another Florida Derby in the books, horses, horsemen and jockeys wasted little time making a beeline for the exits earlier this week. Nowhere was that more evident than on Wednesday's work tab at Gulfstream, which shows only nine workouts despite clear skies and a fast track.

The meet closes April 22.

Cornelio Velasquez has title clinched

Jockey Cornelio Velasquez will depart Thursday with his first Gulfstream riding title. Velasquez had 71 victories heading into Wednesday's card, nine more than runners-up Rafael Bejarano and Edgar Prado, who both have already departed. Jockeys Fernando Jara and Kent Desormeaux returned just long enough from their one-two finishes aboard Invasor and Premium Tap in the Dubai World Cup to clean out their lockers.

Velasquez will be at Keeneland on Friday to ride Funny Cide in an allowance race for trainer Barclay Tagg, and then will be off to New York where he and Tagg will team on Saturday with Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Wood.

Wicklow Vamp heads Friday feature

The mare Wicklow Vamp will seek her 14th victory and third win in four starts at the meet when she heads a field of seven fillies and mares in Friday's $46,000 allowance feature at a mile on the main track. The 6-year-old Wicklow Vamp, claimed for $16,000 by trainer Peter Walder out of her 2006 finale at Calder, won both a $25,000 and $35,000 claiming race here this winter and also lost by a neck after a slow start in $16,000 starter allowance company.

Most Charming and Wild Wedding loom the main threats.