09/07/2016 2:40PM

Mister Marti Gras off to find a second career

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Tom Keyser
Mister Marti Gras won almost $1.2 million racing on dirt, synthetic, and turf.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Mister Marti Gras, a 9-year-old millionaire, has been retired from racing by owner-breeder Bob Lothenbach and trainer Chris Block.

“I’m proud to say he retires extremely sound and happy,” Block said. “He deserves a chance at a second career.”

Mister Marti Gras, a gelding by Belong to Me and out of the Cure the Blues mare Miss Marta, raced 58 times and finished his career with a record of 11-15-6 and earnings of $1,194,026. Mister Marti Gras began his career at Hawthorne in the fall of 2009 and became a stakes winner the following June, when he captured the Oliver Stakes, a turf race for 3-year-olds.

But Mister Marti Gras developed into the rare horse who could produce a top race on turf, dirt, and synthetic surfaces, with earnings of about $534,000 on dirt, about $245,000 on synthetic, and about $414,000 on turf. He could handle distances as long as 1 1/4 miles but had enough speed to compete in one-turn miles, too.

“Mister Marti Gras has been what I call the blue-collar racehorse,” Block said. “He’s been healthy his entire career; he’s never had anything wrong with him. Year in and year out, he’s been very competitive at a high level on all surfaces.”

Mister Marti Gras won a high-end allowance race on turf at Tampa Bay Downs in April, but the signs of form deterioration became more apparent in his recent starts, with Block and Lothenbach deciding they’d seen enough after a sixth-place finish Sept. 3 at Arlington in which Mister Marti Gras ran for a $40,000 claiming price.

“We’ll let him unwind in the barn, and then the plan is to find him a path to his next career,” said Block. “He’s got a lot of years of life left in him as an athlete, just not as a racehorse.”