Retirement confirmed for AG's White Socks
By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
Multiple Group-winning pacer A G's White Socks has gone full circle.
Foaled at Pat Laboyrie's property near Lake Karapiro in the Waikato in 2013, the nine-year-old gelding will now spend his retirement there, after the owners decided to call time on his racing career.
"It's just he's feeling a bit of wear and tear, he was feeling sore so we decided to not bring him back into work," says Laboyrie.
Recently the owners, including Laboyrie, brought the son of Rock N Roll Heaven home from Australia after he had raced there with great success in recent seasons.
He had two stints across the Tasman (January - March 2020) and (July 2022 - April 2023), with top driver Greg Sugars winning with him four times in total, including the 2020 Group 1 Ballarat Cup, against the likes of Self Assured and Chase Auckland.
This season AG's White Socks had four wins from his last five starts, with his last race being a win in the TAB Golden Reign Free For All at Melton on April 29.
He won Group 1s on both sides of the Tasman, including the 2018 Taylor Mile and the 2018 Easter Cup. He also won two heats of the 2019 Inter Dominion, beating Thefixer, Chase Auckland and Cruz Bromac, before running fifth in the final, taken out by Ultimate Sniper.
With a best mile of 1:51.7, he finishes his career with 17 wins from 96 starts and $732,231 in stakes.
Laboyrie rates him as the best horse he's breed in the many decades he's been involved in the sport .
"He would be (the best) when you think of the earnings he made and the company he kept but Helena Jet (13 wins) wasn't far behind and Angelina Jolie was a good one too."
Angelina Jolie's biggest win came in the Group 2 Young Guns Delightful Lady Classic at Alexandra Park in 2013.
As for AG's White Socks, his ability was recognised early on by trainer and part owner Greg Hope.
"He got him as a yearling and called him 'Richie' (after a certain All Black captain) because he was performing so well and looked like a good athlete."
As for how the name AG's White Socks came about, that was courtesy of Laboyrie's grandson Hunter.
"He was about 10 at the time and saw the foal and said 'what are we going to call him?'," recalls Laboyrie.
On seeing his white hind fetlocks he then said "we should call him AG's White Socks."
The AG refers to his mum Atomic Gold.
But it wasn't just his performances on the race track that made AG's White Socks special.
"He just has an incredible temperament, and a beautiful nature."
His demeanour was credited with helping save Ricky May's life in the 2020 Omakau Cup.
May was driving the horse (and leading) when he suffered a medical event. The horse did not panic and in fact slowed down reducing the impact as May fell to the track.
"He virtually pulled himself up, many other horses would have carried on," says Laboyrie.
"Ricky owes his life to the horse and the other first responders who came to his aid that day."
Now that he's been retired AG's White Socks will be re-educated for the next phase of his life.
"My neighbour here is a top equestrian rider so she'll come out here and ride him."
Laboyrie will also be on hand to ensure the very best retirement for his star pacer.
"He's been a dream horse".