Sea the Stars, acclaimed as the best horse in Europe this year, has been retired, a decision that removes the possibility of him running in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting on Nov. 7.
Sea the Stars won six Group 1 races, most recently the Arc de Triomphe earlier this month in Paris. He won 8 of 9 starts, all on turf. Had he come to the United States for the BC Classic, he would have been making his first start on a synthetic surface.
The decision to retire Sea the Stars was first reported on Tuesday by Racingpost.com, which received a statement from John Oxx, who trained Sea the Stars for owner Christopher Tsui.
"It has been decided after discussions with Mr. Christopher Tsui that Sea the Stars will not take part in the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita on November 7," Oxx told Racingpost.com. "He's had a long season and has been in regular fast work from March 3, with his final workout on October 2. He's been in intensive training for seven months with only a three-week break after the Eclipse Stakes at the beginning of July. We feel it is unfair to keep him going any further given his unprecedented record of achievement in the last six months."
Oxx said Sea the Stars was "fit and healthy." He said stud details had not been determined.
"An announcement will be made at a much later date when plans have been finalized," he told Racingpost.com.
Sea the Stars, a son of Cape Cross out of Urban Sea, the 1993 Arc winner, lost his debut last July, then won every one of his subsequent starts.
Sea the Stars had been favored for the BC Classic in overseas books. He had been wooed strongly by officials of the Breeders' Cup, including Greg Avioli, the Breeders' Cup's president and chief executive officer, who attended the Arc.
"Sea the Stars has had an extraordinary career by any measure and we wish his connections the best and thank them for the careful consideration of the Breeders' Cup," Avioli said in a statement Tuesday.
With Sea the Stars out of the Breeders' Cup, as well as Rachel Alexandra, the marquee name at this year's Cup unquestionably becomes Zenyatta, who ran her perfect record to 13 for 13 with a win in the Lady's Secret Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.
Zenyatta is being considered for the BC Classic, as well as the BC Ladies' Classic, which she won last year. If she runs in the Classic, it will be her first start against males.
John Shirreffs, the trainer of Zenyatta, on Tuesday said the retirement of Sea the Stars would have no bearing on whether Zenyatta takes on the boys.
"That has nothing to do with Zenyatta," he said from his barn at Hollywood Park. "Not at all. It's all up to her, how she's doing."