01/02/2012 5:54PM

Never Retreat retired, will be bred to War Front

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Never Retreat, with Julien Leparoux up, wins the Grade 1 First Lady.

Never Retreat, a Grade 1 winner, has been retired and will be bred this winter to War Front, trainer Chris Block said Monday.

Team Block, the 7-year-old mare’s owner, originally intended to retire Never Retreat following the Matriarch Stakes on Nov. 25 at Santa Anita, but after the mare finished third at 4-5 in that race, a final start in the Jan. 7 Marshua’s River had been considered. Never Retreat was shipped to Florida and worked twice at Gulfstream in December, but she came out of her most recent drill with a minor foot problem.

“There was no use trying to make it back after that,” said Block.

Team Block purchased Never Retreat in 2009, when the mare, a daughter of Smart Strike out of Lisieux, had only a minor stakes win atop her r é sum é . And that, fundamentally, is the sort of horse Never Retreat appeared to be until 2011. But last year, at age 6, Never Retreat stepped up her game. During 2011 she won five graded turf stakes, winning three Grade 2’s before capturing the Grade 1 First Lady during the Keeneland fall meet in October.

Never Retreat compiled a record of 11-7-7 from 32 starts with purse earnings of almost $1.3 million.