Schiaparelli retires, ends Breeders’ Cup goal

Jan Vandebos and Schiaparelli share a moment before a recent race

Jan Vandebos and Schiaparelli share a moment before a recent race

Jan Vandebos of RanJan Racing, Inc. announced last week that Schiaparelli, winner of the July 6 Royal Heroine Mile at Hollywood Park, would be retired sound, rather than trained for the upcoming Breeders’ Cup.

Following the racemare’s gate-to-wire win over the turf, Vandebos excitedly discussed hopes for her lovely gray with last week, including her plan to run the gorgeous daughter of Ghostzapper in racing’s richest meet.

But plans changed abruptly when a bone scan done as a precaution, showed a degenerative condition for which the mare had been successfully treated, might now be returning.

Rather than risk injury to the racemare, Vandebos announced late last week that Schiaparelli would be retired, and returned to Springtime Farm in Santa Ynez, Calif., before eventually becoming a broodmare.

“In the winner’s circle, as I was patting her after the race (at Hollywood Park), I told her how much I loved her and looked right into her eyes,” Vandebos says. “Although it’s disappointing, I’m proud of the fact that we were able to retire her sound.

Sire: Ghostzapper
Dam: Cambiocorsa
Foal date: March 23, 2008
Earnings: $274,184
“I am so happy that she is off the track safe and sound!!!!”

Vandebos has used an abundance of caution with the mare from the moment she entered the world in 2008 weighing only 89 pounds and standing a mere nine-hands high.

The progeny of multiple graded stakes winner and Breeders’ Cup participant Ghostzapper and of talented multiple graded multiple graded stakes winner Cambiocorsa, Schiaparelli was surprising and different, right from the beginning.

“She was so small when she was born, and she wasn’t gray until much later,” Vandebos says. “She was actually a bay at birth, and people didn’t think much of her.”

But Vandebos and her husband Robert Naify loved her. “We just thought she was the most special filly,” she says.

Schiaparelli receives a bone scan with aplomb

Schiaparelli receives a bone scan with aplomb

Taking time with race training, Schiaparelli wasn’t started until she was three-and-a-half years old.  Before she grew into her fine form, she was too small and immature to race any sooner, Vandebos explains.

“She moved beautifully, but she seemed shy and immature, and it didn’t seem like a good idea to start breezing her until she was more ready,” she says.

When she eventually entered a maiden special weight at Hollywood Park, the filly won. But something was wrong.

“She wasn’t lame when she came off the track, but we noticed she had some swelling to her ankles,” Vandebos recalls.

That small amount of “filling” triggered an all-out veterinary effort to reverse the advance of a condition that Vandebos notes was somewhat comparable to osteoarthritis.

After myriad consultations with a team of veterinarians who had success curing the condition in other racehorses, Vandebos went ahead with a series of treatments, including a regimen of stem cell injections and top-end anti-inflammatory treatments.

Her treatments, that came after seven months of turnout, and that preceded a very gradual return to activity, worked beautifully, she says.

Resplendent before a race

Resplendent before a race

At age five, after bone scans revealed her condition was again normal, Schiaparelli was returned to racing. And she was great!

She won several, and in April lost by a neck to Mizdirection, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner. “I always thought she could beat Mizdirection. The only reason she lost was that she became distracted.”

With every confidence in her mare, Vandebos entered Schiaparelli in her first Grade 2 race July 6, even as others suggested the mare should be entered in another allowance race instead.

“I said, ‘No. This is her time, it’s her moment,’ ” she says. “Remembering how well she did in the smaller races, I always felt she had much more potential.”

And what a day it was! Watching her mare go gate to wire to beat favored contenders for the win, Vandebos was overjoyed as she began considering the possibility of the Breeders’ cup.

“If it all looks good with her bone scans, that’s where she’ll go,” Vandebos said just two days before the mare’s unforeseen retirement.

One last talk before her final race, July 6

One last talk before her final race, July 6

When bone scans revealed some changes that concerned her well-respected veterinarians there was never a question. The beautiful mare had already earned $274,184, and it was time for retirement.

“We did not feel comfortable continuing to train her at such a high level with these changes being present,” she says.

“I consulted with several top vets before making this decision.

“I am most proud of the fact that we were able to retire her sound. Her life as a broodmare will be a special one, and she deserves the best.”

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9 responses to “Schiaparelli retires, ends Breeders’ Cup goal”

  1. Deryk McBain

    Well done Ran Jan Racing. Hopefully your compassion for your horse will be copied by other horse owners – especially those who place money winnings above the wellbeing of these noble animals. If you allow visits to Springtime Farm, I would love to give Shiaparelli a hug, and congratulate Jan for her caring nature.

  2. Nancy

    So glad to see there are still owners out there who care more about the horse than about getting one more race out of him/her for the money!!

  3. Jean

    She is beautiful. Glad that she is loved so much by her owners and that they are doing the best thing for her. Hope to hear updates on her in the future. I love reading your articles and always look forward to them.
    I would love to give her a big hug.

  4. KT

    You are to be commended for putting the welfare of your mare first and foremost.
    May she have lovely babies for you!

    Best wishes.

  5. Carla

    Brava to this filly and her owners!

  6. Delrene Sims

    This lovely gray and Egg Drop were the greatest looking female horses that special day at Hollywood Park ( Of course Lava Man being that special boy that he is). Wonderful to hear of news of a considerate and loving owner. Congratulations as she heads down the Mommy trail. Thank you for this story. Would love to visit their farm if they have visitors. That part of California is just gorgeous having been to Tommytown Thoroughbreds and Magali Farms to visit Giacomo.

  7. jen

    What a wonderful story! Kudos to RanJan Racing for always doing what was right for this lovely horse.

  8. Jon

    I would love to have her in my barn as a low level eventer and all around fun horse.

  9. Arriba

    I ALWAYS read and love your articles – they are informative, and important items of information, both heartwarming and educational. This is another example of fine reporting on worthwhile, memorable stories. And so glad Schiaparelli’s owner chose to do the right thing and retire her sound.

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