Standardbred Canada is reporting that the party is over for world champion I Luv The Nitelife as the 4-year-old pacing mare has been retired from racing.
After attempting to come back from an injury sustained at the end of 2013, owners Richard Young and Joanne Young made the decision to quit with I Luv The Nitelife on Tuesday. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune was winless in two starts this year after using the early parts of 2014 to recover from a slab knee fracture and atrial fibrillation.
"(She) has a few issues we didn't feel she deserved to race with," trainer Chris Ryder confirmed to Standardbred Canada's Trot Insider. "Just a great mare all heart. Very saddened by her retirement but it is the thing to do."
Richard Young purchased I Luv The Nitelife, a daughter of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Lisjune, for $60,000 under the name Hard Rock Deo at the Lexington Selected Sale in 2011. Young owned I Luv The Nitelife's half-brother I'm The Pied Piper, who was unraced as a 2 year old because of colt soreness. I' The Pied Piper was Lisjune's first foal.
"I'm The Pied Piper trained down really well; we really liked him,” Young said. "The next sale comes up and knowing we liked I'm The Pied Piper, we went and looked at the sister. The sister is a much bigger stronger version of I'm The Pied Piper. She turns into I Luv The Nitelife.
"It was a little bit of luck, but also recognizing what you have counts as well.”
As a 2 year old, I Luv The Nitelife put together a record reading 4-4-1 in 10 freshman starts to bank $682,574 in purses for the Youngs and trainer Chris Ryder. In addition to setting a world record of 1:50.1 in an elimination of the She's A Great Lady at Mohawk Racetrack, she also won the final along with divisions of the Eternal Camnation and Bluegrass Stakes. I Luv The Nitelife was also a runner-up in the Champlain Stake, International Stallion Stakes and Breeders Crown. The O'Brien voters gave her the nod as their choice for 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in 2012.
The voters had no doubt who was the best 3-year-old pacing filly in 2013. I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races last year and $1.25 million en route to divisional honors as 3-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in Canada and in the U.S. Her sophomore triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge, Lynch Memorial, Jugette and Mistletoe Shalee. Her 1:48.4 time in the Valley Forge is the world record for a 3-year-old filly on a five-eighths-mile track.
For her career, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune has won 17 of 27 races and $1.94 million. No female pacer in harness racing history has won more money at ages two and three.
"Very appreciative of the honors she accumulated," added Ryder. "Very special. She will be impossible to replace."
With two world records and multiple stakes under her belt, one of her losses stands out to her co-owner as the race that shows her guts and determination.
"Her last race (at three) in the American National," Richard Young said. "She should have lost by 10 and just got beat. One of the most memorable races of my life, and more than likely the race that ended her career.
"A mare like 'Nitelife' is as good as it gets, all business," continued Young. "She gave all she had in every race. She didn't wait for things to set up. She forced everyone to alter their style to race her.
"If she passes her will to compete, she will be the ultimate broodmare." (Standardbred Canada)