Cinderella lost her Prince Charming at the worst possible moment with millions watching it happen live. One of the most highly anticipated races in the Breeders' Cup Championship Series was the Filly and Mare Turf championship, ran on Saturday, November 7th. A particularly highly regarded dark-horse contender going into the race was STARSHIP JUBILEE, the 2019 Canadian horse of the year. In the irons was Florent Geroux, an outstanding jockey riding a topflight horse. What could go wrong?
As the horses broke from the gate, STARSHIP JUBILEE stumbled, causing Geroux to fly forward over her head, tumbling unceremoniously—but unharmed—onto the grass. It was a disappointing ending not only to the race but also to the running career of a marvelous, beloved horse.
Seven years old, STARSHIP JUBILEE was indeed a Cinderella story. After a faltering early start to her career, she was claimed for a paltry $16,000 in 2017. She went on to race 39 times, winning 19 times, placing second five times, and third three times. Her career earnings total was $2,093,069, averaging out to $53,668 per start. In 2020 alone, she won five of seven starts, tallying $921,682 for the year. She garnered Canadian Horse of the Year honors the previous year, largely based upon her placing no further back than third in seven consecutive graded stakes. Topping that, as a seven-year-old, she started 2020 with four straight wins, including three stakes races. Prior to her unfortunate experience at the Breeders' Cup, in 36 races, she had only finished farther back than fourth one time.
The career of STARSHIP JUBILEE, to a great extent, parallels that of the great American Thoroughbred JOHN HENRY. Both were underestimated in their youth and went on to become champions, still winning stakes races when they six and seven years old. The distinction between the two, of course, is that STARSHIP JUBILEE now has a second career in front of her that was denied John Henry: breeding.
As a contentious colt, JOHN HENRY was gelded. STARSHIP JUBILEE, on the other hand, is set to become a broodmare early in 2021 and already has an impressive suitor. She will be bred to the well-established stallion MEDAGLIA D'ORO. MEDAGLIA D'ORO has produced more than 1600 foals over 15 years at stud. Of his progeny, 58 are certified as graded blacktype winners.
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