Injury ends Bodexpress journey

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Last month’s Grade 1 Clark Stakes winner Bodexpress has been retired after it emerged he sustained an injury in that top-level success.

Trainer and part-owner Gustavo Delgado had been planning to use his success in the Clark at Churchill Downs as a springboard for a tilt at the Pegasus World Cup Invitational in January but those aspirations are now shelved.

His determined Clark victory, a first at Grade 1 level, was in reality his swansong.

“He suffered a career-ending injury,” Gustavo Delgado said in a message posted on Twitter. “A very talented colt who finally showed his potential at (Churchill Downs).”

Delgado’s son and assistant trainer, Gustavo Jr, expanded on the events following that November 27th win that led to the retirement of a colt that had enjoyed plenty of notoriety in this racing career.

“We gave it a few days to let the swelling subside before running him through a litany of veterinary exams,” he said. “Unfortunately, after consulting with various medical experts, we came to the conclusion that a return to 100 per-cent soundness [in the future] wouldn’t be possible.”

Winning the Clark with a career-high 103 Beyer Speed Figure was the pinnacle of Bodexpress’s career.

Last year, he’d finished second behind Maximum Security in the Florida Derby (G1), enough to get him a slot in the Kentucky Derby despite retaining his maiden status at the time.

He finished down the field in the ‘Run for the Roses’ and then made headlines for the wrong reasons when he threw Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez at the start and ran loose around the track ahead of the Preakness Stakes.

After a five-month hiatus, he’d break his duck with a pair of low-level wins at Gulfstream Park West last December before taking third spot in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) set him up to finish a competitive fifth in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) in January of this year.

He was inauspicious for most of the remainder of 2020, winning an allowance race in October at Gulfstream Park West, before going off an 11/1 chance in the Grade 1 Clark on Thanksgiving Weekend.

Ridden for the first time by Rafael Bejarano, he got to the front with a furlong and a half to go and refused to be overhauled, turning in a career-best on what proved his farewell outing.

“Bodexpress’ health comes first, so we had to do what was best for the horse and retire him,” Delgado Jr. added of a horse that earned $694,600 in his 17-race career.