Walner retired, stud deal "in principle"
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Although trainer Linda Toscano had hoped to bring the 2016 Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter of the Year Walner to The Red Mile as she continued training while he was working through a suspensory injury, it won't be happening.
On Wednesday morning, while at her stable on The Red Mile backstretch, Toscano and Walner's owner, Ken Jacobs, confirmed the colt is officially retired from racing and that there was a deal "in principle" for Walner to stand at stud at Southwind Farm in New Jersey next year.
"The horse is being syndicated and it is being led by Brittany Farms and Lindy Farms," said Toscano. "There was a great deal of interest in the horse, especially from Europe, but Ken wanted him to stay here."
Jacobs said he is proud that Walner, the sport's fastest 2-year-old colt trotter of all time, would be residing in the same stud barn occupied by trotting greats Valley Victory and now Muscle Hill.
Jacobs said he is retaining a 25 percent interest in Walner, but presently owns no broodmares and has no plans to become a breeder.
"I'd rather go to the auction than breed," he said. "And I'll still be doing that because I want to win the Hambletonian!"
It was on Oct. 6, 2016, that Walner trotted his world-record 1:51.3 mile at The Red Mile. Wrapping up his freshman season with wins in the Breeders Crown and Kindergarten finals, the son of Chapter Seven was an overwhelming Dan Patch Award winner.
Walner returned to the races this year with a 1:51.1 win in a conditioned trot on July 8 at the Meadowlands, and after a 1:50.2 win one week later in a $159,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial division at the Big M, it appeared Walner was headed for a Hambletonian victory.
However, a few days before the entry box closed for the Hambletonian, Toscano announced Walner had suffered an injury and would not be entered.--harnessracing.com