Royal F J, a popular campaigner who paid his way under the guidance of trainer Jack Carava for most of his lengthy career, has been retired from racing after his 102nd start in Thursday's eighth race at Santa Anita.
The 10-year-old gelded son of Royal Academy bred in Kentucky finished seventh at odds of 4-1 in the six furlong sprint for $6,250 claimers, beaten 11 lengths after steadying when in tight after the start.
“He was in bad form when I originally claimed him some time back, and when I did, I told myself if he ran better we would continue to race him, and as soon as he tells us he doesn't want to run anymore, we'll take care of him and find him a good home,” Carava said.
“He had a little trouble early in the race yesterday, but it was the first time he acted like he wasn't happy running, so it's time. He's still very, very sound for a horse his age with that many races, and that's probably the most amazing thing about him.
“He's going to have a good life ahead and we're going to find him a good spot. It's yet to be determined where he's going, but we've had tons of offers so we're going to go through those and find him a good home, but he won't run anymore.
“The good thing is he leaves here sound. All the years I had him, he was always at the barn with me. I never turned him out, he never missed any training. He still wouldn't be the kind of horse that would miss any training.
“He hits the ground good, he likes going to the track, but it's just time. I don't want to keep running him for $6,000 and $8,000 and not have him run well. We ran him all this year and basically he was finishing one, two, three, but now he's kind of gathered up a few bad races in a row so I don't want to keep running him.
“I bought him as a yearling and he's 10 now. He was out of the barn for about six months (after being claimed), so we had him the better part of nine years.”
Royal F J picked up $345 for his efforts Thursday, finishing with earnings of $568,150 from nine wins, 19 seconds and 18 thirds.
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