12/19/2016 1:10PM

Richies Sweetheart retired after ninth-place finish in Lightning City Stakes

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Richies Sweetheart won the 2015 Lightning City Stakes, but was retired after finishing ninth this year.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – If Richies Sweetheart gets off to as fast a start as a broodmare as she did in most of her races, then trainer Larry Rivelli will have a lot to look forward to with her babies.

Richies Sweetheart scored one of the biggest victories of her career in the 2015 Lightning City Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, but in last Saturday’s edition of the five-furlong turf sprint, her career came to a close. She briefly flashed the speed that made her a four-time stakes winner but then faded to finish ninth of 12. It was her fourth straight loss.

Richies Sweetheart, who was bred by Rivelli and Richard Ravin and campaigned by them and Vince Foglia, was retired immediately after the race. She will reside at veterinarian Jean White’s farm in Ocala, Fla., and will be bred next year at 6, probably to either Candy Ride or Twirling Candy, according to Rivelli.

“We decided when she crossed the line,” Rivelli said. “We hadn’t even talked about it before. Richard texted me, and I agreed, and he texted Vince, he agreed, and that was it. She’s retiring 100 percent sound. We could go on with her next year and run her in claiming races, but we’ve always had this earmarked for her even though her pedigree is not that strong. We’re going with the ‘breeding the athlete’ model on this one. If she can throw anything like she was, we’ll have a lot of fun.”

Richies Sweetheart, a daughter of Bring the Heat and the Officer mare Make an Offer, won 14 of her 32 starts and earned $571,615. In addition to last year’s Lightning City, she won the $75,000 Honor the Hero Stakes at Canterbury Park last May, the $200,000 Turf Amazon at Parx Racing in September 2015, and the $78,900 Brandywine at Indiana Grand in July 2015.

Triple Chelsea got her first stakes win in last Saturday’s $75,000 Lightning City, boldly surging through a very narrow gap between horses at the head of the lane and unleashing an eye-catching rally under Wilmer Garcia to catch the pacesetting Nite Delite and win by a neck. Triple Chelsea is trained by Anthony Granitz, who said plans for the filly’s 4-year-old debut next year haven’t been determined.

Nite Delite, trained by Linda Rice, was seeking her first stakes win in her sixth attempt. Back in August at Monmouth Park, she lost by a head to Joya Real after leading most of the way in the $61,200 Blue Sparkler.