Grade 2 hero Green Mask, who has gone 3-3-0 from six starts thus far this year, has been retired after suffering a fractured left front sesamoid in a turf breeze at Belmont Park on Sunday.
The six-year-old son of Mizzen Mast was working on the inner turf course at Belmont when his exercise rider suddenly pulled him up at the top of the stretch. He was vanned back to the barn and evaluated by veterinarians.
According to trainer Brad Cox, Green Mask’s injury will need surgery but isn’t considered to be life threatening.
“It’s still kind of in the works as to where he’ll go right now, but he will need surgery,” Cox said.
Green Mask began his career with trainer Wesley Ward in 2013, breaking his maiden at Keeneland and running twice more for that conditioner before transferring to Christophe Clement for a trio of starts, including a first stakes win in the 2014 Paradise Creek Stakes at Belmont.
He returned to Ward’s shedrow in 2015, proceeded to place in a pair of Florida stakes, and then headed overseas for a close third-place run in the Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-G1) at Meydan on Dubai World Cup Day. The Kentucky-bred made just one start after he returned from Dubai, finishing fourth by a half-length in the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, before missing by three parts of a length when third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.
Ward saddled Green Mask in his five-year-old opener, a nose second in the Elusive Quality Stakes at Belmont Park on April 30, 2016, but Cox took over training duties after that.
Green Mask competed a total of nine times last year, including a fifth-placing in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, but wouldn’t visit the stakes winner’s circle again until his final start of the year in the Bonapaw Stakes at Fair Grounds on December 17.
The Abdullah Saeed Almaddah colorbearer returned with a bang in 2017, finishing second in Fair Grounds’ Colonel Power Stakes and missing by a neck in the Shakertown Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.
The well-traveled Green Mask finally earned that elusive first graded victory when capturing the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, ran second to record-setter Disco Partner in the Jaipur Stakes (G3) at Belmont, and earned an automatic berth to this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint when taking the Highlander Stakes (Can-G2) on July 2 at Woodbine.
Green Mask’s last race came as a win the Troy Handicap at Saratoga on August 6. He retires with a 27-8-8-3 career mark and $1,064,761 in lifetime earnings.
“He’s been a tremendous horse,” Cox said. “We’re very thankful to have had him and for what he gave to us. We’ll do all we can to hopefully give him a good life. We will make sure he doesn’t suffer, but we think it is repairable. I think he will make a nice pleasure horse.”