John's Call reaches end of gallant career

Voss-trained gelding `officially retired' after Sycamore Breeders' Cup

October 08, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

"He's officially retired."

With those words, Tom Voss, the respected trainer from Monkton, announced the end of the career of John's Call, the gallant 10-year-old gelding.

Yesterday, in the $150,000 Sycamore Breeders' Cup at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., John's Call contested the lead, ambled along at a moderate pace, but then faded to last in the seven-horse field. It was the third straight disappointing performance for the hard-trying horse who, last year at 9, won two Grade I stakes and finished a close third in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Rochester surged along the rail to win the Sycamore at odds of 5-1. Chorwon finished second, and the Voss-trained Regal Dynasty claimed third.

Two months ago in the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap at Saratoga, John's Call bled profusely from the lungs for the first time in his career. Despite the administration of the anti-bleeder medication Lasix, John's Call likely started bleeding again in subsequent races, Voss said.

"I guess he felt that trickle," Voss said. "Once they start doing it [bleeding], they sort of get scared of it."

John's Call retires after 40 races of which he won 16 and finished second 11 times. He earned $1,571,080. Voss said John's Call would return to his farm in Monkton.

Santa Anita: Freedom Crest overtook Skimming in the stretch and won the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap by one-length at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting in Arcadia, Calif.

Tiznow, the defending Goodwood champion and horse of the year in 2000, finished third, a half-length behind Skimming.

"He didn't put in his normal, hard-trying effort," jockey Chris McCarron said of Tiznow. "He picked it up too little, too late."

Meanwhile, Val Royal rallied from last for a two-length victory in the $250,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux and carrying 116 pounds, Freedom Crest covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 4/5 and paid $80, $16.60 and $2.10 as a 39-1 long shot in the field of six.

It was the largest win price in the Grade II event's 20-year history.

In the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile, Val Royal covered 1 mile on the turf in 1:33 1/5.

Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr. and carrying 119 pounds, Val Royal paid $8.20, $3.80 and $3.80.

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Val Royal's career earnings to $515,644, with six wins in nine starts for owner David Milch, a writer-producer whose TV series' include NYPD Blue.

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: Frankie Dettori won the race in Paris for the second time, riding favorite Sakhee to an easy victory over previously unbeaten Aquarelliste.

The 4-year-old colt, owned by Godolphin, won $839,000 to take the biggest prize in European racing.

Dettori, who last summer survived a plane crash in England in which the pilot was killed, won the Arc in 1995 aboard Lammtarra.

He moved Sakhee into the lead at the top of the home stretch and opened a huge gap in the final half mile of the 1 1/2 -mile race at Longchamp.

"I couldn't see this horse getting beaten," Dettori said. "It's too good. It's perfect for the Arc."

Aquarelliste, a 3-year-old filly, finished second ahead of Sagacity.

Retirement: Beautiful Pleasure, the champion older filly or mare of 1999, was retired, a day after she finished sixth in the Beldame at Belmont Park.

The 6-year-old horse had not won in four starts this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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