By Jim Freer
The four-time stakes winner East Hall suffered a fractured sesamoid during the Sunshine Millions Classic Preview on Saturday Nov. 7 at Calder, and has been retired from racing.
East Hall, a 4-year-old gelding, finished fifth in his final race. He will spend about 60 days in Florida while resting and recuperating from surgery and then be sent to a thoroughbred retirement center, his co-owner Jack Hendricks told the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.
A sesamoid bone is at the back of a joint in a horse’s lower leg and helps to keep the function of the tendons and ligaments that run between them.
The news of East Hall’s injury was first reported in the FTBOA’s on-line Wire to Wire publication in an article written by FTBOA managing editor Mike Mullaney.
“We all feel terrible,” Bill Kaplan, the trainer of East Hall, told HorseRacingFLA on Friday.
“He is gone (from racing) but not gone from life,” Kaplan said. “They’ll make sure that he has a good home. He was a great horse, and he always gave his best.”
East Hall won six of his 28 starts and earned $870,620
for Hendricks and co-owner Roger Justice, with Kaplan as trainer in all of them. East Hall also had four second place finishes and four third place finishes, while racing primarily in stakes.
Kaplan said that East Hall was a standout for reasons that included his endurance, intelligence and ability to work with a rider to adjust to the traffic in a race.
The photo on the home page shows East Hall winning the 2014 Millions Classic Preview, a $100,000 race at 1 1/16 miles on dirt for Florida-breds 3-years-old and up. Last year and this year, the race was part of the Gulfstream Park West meet, which Gufstream Park is holding at Calder under a lease agreement with that track.
In 2014, East Hall won the $200,000 Ohio Derby at ThistleDown and the $500,000 Indiana Derby (Grade 2( at Indiana Grand Race Course.
This past Sept. 12, he won the Sensitive Prince Stakes at Gulfstream.
East Hall is a son of Graeme Hall out of the Sultry Song mare East Long Lake. Hendricks and Justice bought him for $55,000 at an Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. sale in April 2013.