Black Caviar, the world’s top-ranked thoroughbred sprinter, was retired four days after extending her perfect career record to 25 victories.
The owners of the six-year-old mare, trained by Peter Moody, decided against racing on after she won an unprecedented 15th elite Australian horse race in Sydney on April 13 to lift her career prize money to almost A$8 million ($8.3 million).
“The owners and myself have had a long chat the last couple of days and we decided 25 was a great number,” Moody said at a televised news conference in Melbourne. “At the end of the day we believe she’s done everything we’ve asked her to do. It’s the right time to call it a day.”
Her latest triumph in the T.J. Smith Stakes at Randwick Racecourse moved her one ahead of Kingston Town with a record 15 Group 1 wins. Australia introduced the Group and Listed race classification system in 1979. The victory came four days after her sibling sold for A$5 million, an Australian record for a 1-year-old untrained racehorse, at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in Sydney.
As well as attracting sellout crowds and headlines in Australia, where she has graced the front cover of fashion magazine Vogue, Black Caviar gained international attention in June when she held off an elite field to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at England’s Royal Ascot in a photo finish. She was patted by Queen Elizabeth II following her triumph.
Moody said that he and the owners expected that she would be retired after the Ascot race and her three victories in Australia this year were all bonuses.
“We got three more runs than we thought we were ever going to have,” Moody said. “We’ve been fortunate to bring her home and I think the owners are to be congratulated on allowing me to race her on and give the Australian public three more opportunities to see her.”
A two-time Australian Racehorse of the Year, Black Caviar will begin a breeding career and the owners will start considering their stallion options from tomorrow, according to co-owner Neil Werrett.
“We’re looking forward in three years or so to Peter training one of her progeny,” Werrett said today. “That would be a great thing to look forward to.”
After winning her first race on April 18, 2009, at odds of 2-1, she started as the odds-on favorite for the remainder of her career. Sportingbet Australia Chief Executive Officer Michael Sullivan said the bookmaker had taken a total of A$45 million worth of bets on Black Caviar across her 25 starts and paid out A$8.5 million in winnings.
“She’s been phenomenal for racing and she’s an absolute champion, but I won’t be shedding a tear over her retirement,” Sullivan said in a statement. “No other horse has attracted as many six-figure and seven-figure bets as what she has.”
Moody said Black Caviar will go to a farm for a break and fans will get the chance to say goodbye when she is paraded at Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne in three days.
“We’ve done our job, she’s more than done hers, she’s been a great advocate for the sport,” Moody added. “She brought interest to our sport that hasn’t been there for decades. Black Caviars don’t come along every day.”