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Obrigado Retired

Published: November 22, 2018 7:31 pm ET

Last Comment: November 22, 2018 8:10 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Trot Insider has learned that 2016 U.S. Older Trotter of the Year Obrigado has been retired.

Trainer and co-owner Paul Kelley confirmed that the millionaire will not return to the races after making seven starts this past season and a total of 13 over the past two campaigns.

"After a bit of time and some consultation with my vet, Dr. Rodney Stewart, it was decided that he has earned his retirement."

One year ago, Obrigado had arthroscopic surgery performed on his right stifle after going winless in six starts. He returned to the track this past summer and picked up three wins and six cheques in seven outings, last competing in the 2018 Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park and finishing fourth to Marion Marauder while trotting his mile in 1:51.3. The plan was to race next in the Allerage Trot at The Red Mile and hit some of the late season stakes but the horse suffered a suspensory injury while prepping in Lexington.

"Our plan was to start him back in June and just let him get stronger as the year went on. I really felt like it was coming together nicely," said Kelley. "Unfortunately, like any sport, you can’t always foresee or prevent injuries from occurring. Stuff happens when athletes compete hard.

"It’s tough because he was actually very sound and healthy when this occurred. I honestly think he was as physically good this year as he ever was in his time with me."

At two and three, Obrigado won 21 straight races in Maine when trained by Ivan Davies and owned by longtime top Maine breeder Mike Andrew. After earning more than $168,000 and back-to-back Maine-bred championships, the son of Boy Band - Malimony was entered in the 2013 Harrisburg Mixed Sale. Kelley jumped in to purchase Obrigado for $53,000. And while he couldn't keep that unbeaten streak intact for co-owners Linwood Higgins, S R F Stable and Stable 45, Kelley developed Obrigado into one of North America's top older trotters.

Sporting a summary of 45-16-11 from 92 lifetime starts with more than $1.8 million in earnings, Obrigado posted major Grand Circuit wins in the Dayton Trotting Derby, Crawford Farms Trot, John Cashman Jr. Memorial, Cleveland Classic, Charlie Hill Memorial, Maxie Lee Memorial, and the TVG Open Trot Championship.

"He is truly a great horse with a wonderful personality. He’s extremely social with horses and people...just a tremendous animal."

Obrigado is presently spending the winter in North Carolina at Chris Coyle’s Olive Branch Farm. Kelley confirmed that the charismatic trotter will definitely be getting a lifetime home at a location yet to be determined. He's also looking forward to his next wave of older trotting stars as a pair of late-blooming three-year-olds will return to the races in 2019 to compete as older horses: Pat Matters and The Veteran.

"She’s very nice," Kelley said of Pat Matters. "She didn’t race last year at two, so she was a little green getting going this year. But she really developed quite nicely and we definitely plan on racing her next year at four. She’s a big filly that’s very capable of stepping up next year.

"We also have added The Veteran to our stable," continued Kelley. "We’re really excited in trying to develop him into a top older trotter. George Ducharme did a great job with him. We’re really looking at trying to develop him for beyond his four-year-old year. We expect to be rather conservative with him next year and hopefully he grows into an Open / Grand Circuit trotter at five."

November 22, 2018 - 8:10 pmAll the Best on your

All the Best on your retirement, Obrigado

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