May 24, 2019

Lady Eli out of Keeneland November

Lady Eli is one of four People's Choice Award finalists announced by the Dubai Racing Club (NYRA/Coglianese Photography)

Turf star Lady Eli, who was scheduled to sell at Keeneland November on Wednesday, has reportedly been withdrawn after sustaining cuts in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Sent off as the 3-2 favorite in her expected career finale, the Chad Brown trainee was roughed up as the 14-horse field scrambled for position down the diagonal chute in the 1 1/8-mile event. Lady Eli was steadied early, and although angled into position in the lane, didn’t offer her customary rally and checked in seventh.

Lady Eli’s uncharacteristic effort was immediately explicable when she returned with lacerations to both hind legs, as Daily Racing Form’s David Grening first reported. She also lost her left hind shoe in the fracas.

On Sunday, Blood-Horse’s Ron Mitchell further reported that Lady Eli suffered puncture wounds.

The five-year-old mare’s owners, Jay Hanley and Sol Kumin of Sheep Pond Partners, issued the following statement carried by Thoroughbred Daily News:

After lengthy discussions with Chad Brown following the BC Filly & Mare Turf, we have decided that we are going to scratch Lady Eli from this week’s Keeneland November Sale. Unfortunately, Lady Eli was banged around and stepped on from behind heading into the first turn. She suffered a number of significant lacerations to both of her hind legs and she lost one of her hind shoes in the incident.

The fact that she raced another mile and finished the race with these injuries and shoeless is amazing, and a further testament to her toughness and courage.  Right now, our efforts are focused squarely on trying to get her well again.

Putting her through the trials of a sale in her current condition is simply out of the question. As soon as she can travel, she will go to John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington KY to rest and recover.

Hill ‘n’ Dale was handling the consignment to Keeneland November, where Lady Eli was cataloged as Hip No. 271.

As the winner of this season’s Gamely (G1), Diana (G1), and Ballston Spa (G2), and runner-up in the Jenny Wiley (G1), Lady Eli was in pole position for Eclipse Award honors as champion turf mare. The Filly & Mare Turf is unlikely to derail her championship, since the British-based winner, Godolphin’s Wuheida, was scoring her first win of her campaign that began belatedly due to injury.