Grade 1 winner Giant Oak has been retired from racing to stand stud at Millennium Farms in Kentucky, it was announced Monday.
Though he is a 6-year-old, Giant Oak might have raced again during 2012 had he not sustained a hind-end injury while training toward a start in the Clark Handicap in November at Churchill Downs. Giant Oak hurt his hind end late in morning training hours at Hawthorne Race Course when another horse -- one of only a couple out on the track at the time -- ducked in sharply from the outside fence and slammed into Giant Oak, who was in the midst of a routine gallop.
Giant Oak never made it back to Churchill, where he scored one of two Grade 1 victories in his career, albeit via the disqualification of Successful Dan in the 2010 Clark. Last winter, in the best race of his life, Giant Oak won the Grade 1 Donn Handicap outright, rallying strongly to score by two lengths, but he would fail to find the winner's circle again seven subsequent 2011 starts.
A late-running, handsome chestnut horse trained by Chris Block, Giant Oak was bred in Illinois by Virginia and Rudy Tarra through a mating of their graded-stakes-winning mare Crafty Oak and the stallion Giant's Causeway. His racing career concluded with 5 wins -- 2 on dirt, 1 on synthetic, and two on turf -- from 35 starts, and with purse earnings of almost $1.5 million.
The Tarras will remain part-owners of Giant Oak as a stallion, with Millennium owner Ro Parra purchasing a share of the horse. Giant Oak will stand for a fee of $7,500.