Horse Racing

Retired Caravel to be Bred to Justify

Caravel, winner of the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1T) at Keeneland, has been retired from racing and will be bred next year to Justify  , according to the racing manager for one of her owners.

A Pennsylvania-bred 6-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast , she retires with a 15-1-3 record in 26 starts with earnings of $1,983,327. Initially campaigned by breeder/owner/trainer Elizabeth Merryman, she concluded her career Nov. 4 with a 10th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita Park for trainer Brad Cox and current owners Madaket Stables, Qatar Racing, and Marc Detampel.

The popular gray/roan mare raced for those connections for two years after Fergus Galvin of Hunter Valley Farm, United States racing manager for the Sheikh Fahad Al Thani-headed Qatar Racing, acquired her as agent for $500,000 in 2021 from the ELiTE consignment at The November Sale at Fasig-Tipton. Last month, the Hunter Valley Farm-consigned mare fell short of her reserve at the November Breeding Stock Sale at Keeneland when bidding stalled at $2.4 million.

In deciding to breed her to Justify, the 2018 Triple Crown winner and currently the leading second-crop sire in North America, “It didn’t take us long to come up with him,” Galvin quipped.

“We wanted to keep a little bit of that turf influence with her stallion. Justify is doing it on both surfaces,” he said of the 8-year-old sire, who stands at Ashford Stud in Kentucky.

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Sam Cavalieri, Mid-Atlantic correspondent for Lancaster Farming, initially reported Caravel’s retirement and breeding plans, citing Merryman. Merryman bred her out of the Congrats mare Zeezee Zoomzoom .

Asked if Caravel’s current owners plan to sell her in foal next fall, Gavin told BloodHorse, “First things first, we’ll get her covered hopefully in the spring.” She is at Hunter Valley Farm in Versailles, Ky.

Reflecting on her career accomplishments, which included 13 stakes wins, six graded and two at the top stakes level, Galvin said she took the partners on “some incredible journeys.”

For her accomplishments last year at age 5, capped by her 42-1 upset in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, she finished second in Eclipse Award voting to Goodnight Olive , who prevailed by a 228-12 margin to become champion female sprinter.


“She was at the top of her game for every bit of two years and, unfortunately, as can happen with a 6-year-old mare, she just kind of tailed off the latter part of her 6-year-old season,” Galvin said.

After winning the Shakertown Stakes (G2T), Unbridled Sidney Stakes, and Jaipur Stakes (G1T) over the first half of 2023, she finished fourth in the Troy Stakes (G3T) and second in the Franklin Stakes (G2T) ahead of her attempted title defense in the Breeders’ Cup.

“She retired very sound,” Galvin said.


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