Star filly retired prematurely
By Garrick Knight
The race career of last season’s top juvenile pacing filly, Sweet On Me, has come to a premature end.
Her connections made the decision to retire her last week after being told by vets she would not race as a three-year-old this season.
“We had the option to put her out for six months and bring her back for next season,” said Paul Kenny, who raced her with wife Mary and father-in-law, Charles Roberts.
“But by that time, she’s a four-year-old and when we really looked at it, we felt like she’d done enough.
“She had a glittering career as a two-year-old so we thought we’d just leave it at that and have her as a broodmare.”
It’s a fair assessment – the blueblood first born daughter of champion mare Adore Me won nearly a quarter of a million dollars in a career spanning just seven starts.
She won two Group 1 races, including the 2YO Diamond at Addington’s Harness Jewels back in June, from the stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, and also won the 2YO Pacing Filly of the Year title.
The diagnosis came while she was back in work with Purdon and Rasmussen after undergoing winter surgery.
“When she was heading back south last season, Mark suggested we stop in and get scintigraphy done in Matamata,” said Kenny.
“There was a chip in one knee and some minor cartilage issues in both knees.
“They said we could keep racing her so we did that.
“Then, on the way home after the Jewels she stopped off and had an operation and subsequently went through a faultless post-operative recovery.”
It was all systems go for her three-year-old season and, after a period of swimming work, she returned to Canterbury for a new preparation.
“But she just wasn’t comfortable at speed so we had some x-rays taken and it showed further problems.
“We are too fond of the horse, all our horses, to risk her as we have plenty of others to go on with.
“We’re not greedy and are very grateful for the success we have.
“She gave us some great thrills last season.”
Sweet On Me will not be bred now, but rather early next season.
“You’re not going to get an early foal and we are breeding from 30 others, so we’ll start her nice and early next season.”
Adore Me’s next foal, a full sister named Darling Me, is showing great promise for Purdon and Rasmussen.
“On type and temperament, she’s a lovely filly but you never really know how good they are until they get to the track.”
In a further blow for Roberts and the Kennys, they’ve also had to retire an unraced, but qualified, three-year-old full sister to recently-retired champion mare Dream About Me.
“She had a problem with a suspensory as a two-year-old last season and now, unfortunately, she’s gone in the other suspensory.
“She hadn’t raced, but she’d done enough at the trials stage to know she had some ability.”
Dream About Me has returned a positive scan to Captaintreacherous, which would be her first foal.