09/30/2011 1:19PM

Shadow of Illinois retired at age 11


ARCADIA, Calif. – Shadow of Illinois, who won the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap in 2005 and raced as an 11-year-old this year, has been retired, trainer Anthony Saavedra said.

A winner of 10 of 50 starts and $517,295, the California-bred Shadow of Illinois is currently residing with Saavedra and his wife, Jennifer, at their home near Santa Anita.

“We’re letting him down and getting him ready for the second phase of his life,” Saavedra said Friday. “This will be better for him.”

Aside from the San Simeon Handicap win, Shadow of Illinois was best known for the longevity of his racing career. He made one start at Sunland Park in 2003 and spent the rest of his career in Southern California, racing primarily in turf sprints.

Bred by Barbara Millard, Shadow of Illinois is by Illinois Storm and is out of the Trempolino mare My Annie T.

In recent months, Shadow of Illinois fought abscesses in his feet, Saavedra said. In the last few weeks, the Saavedras have considered training Shadow of Illinois to be a hunter-jumper.

“We might try that, and if it didn’t work out, we’ll find a green pasture for him,” Saavedra said.

Even though he did not win a stakes after 2005, Shadow of Illinois remained competitive throughout the circuit. In 2009, he won turf races at the five Southern California meetings that conduct turf racing – Santa Anita winter-spring, Hollywood Park spring-summer, Del Mar, Oak Tree at Santa Anita, and the Hollywood Park fall meeting.

Shadow of Illinois was winless in 10 starts in 2010 and 2011.

His last racetrack appearance was a sixth-place finish in an optional claimer for statebreds at Hollywood Park on July 8. Shadow of Illinois was entered for a $25,000 claiming price that evening, a level he raced for frequently in the last 18 months.

“Racing at his level is pretty tough,” Saavedra said. “I could find a spot someplace else, but he’s been pretty good to us.”

The abscesses that led to the Saavedras retiring Shadow of Illinois were not a new ailment. Shadow of Illinois wore glue-on shows throughout his career, Saavedra said. He credited farriers Ben Craft and Robert Treasure, exercise rider Daron Long, and veterinarian Vince Baker for caring for Shadow of Illinois, which allowed him to race to an advanced age.

“It was an unbelievable ride,” Saavedra said. “The chances of coming up with another one like him in my career is pretty small. Even though he’s at home, we miss him at the barn.”

Stud plans set for Sierra Sunset

Sierra Sunset, who won three stakes, has been retired to stud at Rancho San Miguel in San Miguel, Calif., for the 2012 breeding season.

A 6-year-old, Sierra Sunset won 5 of 14 starts and $459,696 in a three-year career that ended in 2009. Earlier this year, Sierra Sunset was in training in Northern California, but did not race.

Trained by Jeff Bonde, Sierra Sunset is best known for winning the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in 2008, his final start of that year. An injury during that campaign prevented him from starting in the Triple Crown races.

As a 4-year-old in 2009, Sierra Sunset won the Alamedan Handicap at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton. A California-bred by Bertrando, Sierra Sunset will stand for $2,500, according to Rancho San Miguel ranch manager Clay Murdock.

“He was a precocious 2-year-old,” Murdock said. “He won going 4 1/2 [furlongs]. Also in his 2-year-old year, he won the California Cup Juvenile and the Bay Meadows Juvenile. He could get two turns and he could carry his speed a long way.”