Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner New Year's Day has been retired after sustaining a sesamoid injury, Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form reports. Campaigned by Gary and Mary West and trained by Bob Baffert, the son of Street Cry was expected to be a major player on the Triple Crown trail.
Instead, New Year's Day will embark upon a new career at stud in 2014. According to Thoroughbred Daily News, he will stand at Hill 'n' Dale near Lexington, Kentucky.
A leading candidate for an Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old colt, New Year's Day won two of three starts and earned $1,154,000. He opened his career at Del Mar on August 17, closing for third in a 5 1/2-furlong dash before capturing a one-mile maiden two weeks later.
New Year's Day was to make his stakes debut in the September 28 FrontRunner at Santa Anita, but he spiked a fever and ultimately missed that engagement. Nevertheless, he was flattered when the colt who had been runner-up in his August 31 maiden win, Bond Holder, came right back to break his maiden convincingly in the FrontRunner.
Lining up in the November 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile off a two-month layoff, New Year's Day rallied from far off the torrid pace to win going away by 1 1/4 lengths. He defeated a deep field at Santa Anita, including Champagne winner Havana, Hopeful hero Strong Mandate and Bond Holder, the respective second through fourth-place finishers in the Breeders' Cup.
New Year's Day returned to the worktab at Santa Anita on December 15, covering three furlongs in :37 4/5. Plans called for him to kick off his sophomore season in the February 8 Robert B. Lewis, until injury struck.
Baffert told DRF that New Year's Day was walking gingerly following a gallop early this week, and X-rays revealed a chip in the sesamoid in his left hind leg.
"It's gut-wrenching for me," the Hall of Famer said.
The Wests opted to retire the colt straightaway, their racing manager Ben Glass told TDN.
"Mr. and Mrs. West decided that rather than trying to make more money with this horse and go on with him, that the best thing to do for the horse was just to retire him.
"Sesamoids are nothing to mess with," Glass added, "so we just went ahead and made the decision to retire him."
Bred by Clearsky Farms in Kentucky, New Year's Day was purchased by Glass, as agent for the Wests, for $425,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. He is the first registered foal from multiple Grade 2 winner Justwhistledixie.
With the retirement of New Year's Day, there will once again be no Breeders' Cup Juvenile/Kentucky Derby double. The only horse to accomplish that unique feat is champion Street Sense (2006 Juvenile/2007 Derby), who like New Year's Day, is by Street Cry.