By Nicholas Godfrey
USA: Pegasus World Cup winner Mucho Gusto has been retired owing to a soft-tissue injury.
The five-year-old, a disappointing fourth on his return to action on Boxing Day at Santa Anita, was still on course for a defence of his title at Gulfstream Park on January 23 when the injury emerged.
“He came up with a minor soft tissue injury that will knock him out of the Pegasus and Saudi Cup,” said trainer Bob Baffert, speaking to Thoroughbred Daily News.
“We are disappointed because he was a barn favourite,” said Baffert. “I was really excited about him this year – he put up some huge performances.”
Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Mucho Gusto made all for a comfortable 4½-length victory over Mr Freeze in the $3m Pegasus, in which his stablemate Charlatan is favourite for this month’s renewal ahead of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Knicks Go.
Mucho Gusto won five graded stakes altogether and led into the straight in the first running of the world’s richest race, the Saudi Cup, before coming fourth behind Maximum Security. The same horse beat him into second in the G1 Haskell.
Stud details are yet to be announced for the son of Mucho Macho Man, whose retirement robs the US scene of another high-profile horse only days after the shock retirement of popular Belmont Stakes winner Tiz The Law.
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