Virus sidelines champion pacer Somebeachsomewhere
Somebeachsomewhere, the most successful harness racehorse to come out of the Maritimes, will no longer race.
The three-year-old colt, who set four world records, was scratched from a race Monday night at Dover Downs in Delaware because of a virus.
Brent MacGrath, trainer and part-owner, said he didn't want to take any chances because the horse has a high temperature.
"Beach is not feeling 100 per cent, and we need to listen," MacGrath said in a statement posted Monday on standardbredcanada.ca. "It would not be in Beach's best interest to race him when he is not at his best."
Missing Monday's qualifying race means Somebeachsomewhere won't be in the final next week.
Somebeachsomewhere, whose home stable is in Bible Hill, N.S., was bought for about $40,000 by five owners from the Maritimes.
The stallion has far exceeded expectations, posting career earnings of $3.3 million. In this year alone, he has won 14 of the 15 biggest races in North America, set three world records and earned $2.5 million.
The horse is expected to make a full recovery but will be retired to a stud farm in the U.S., where he's expected to command millions.
Standardbred Canada, which promotes harness racing, has launched a campaign for sports writers to vote Somebeachsomewhere as the 2008 Lou Marsh Trophy recipient as Canada's athlete of the year.
"No athlete in any other sport has done what Somebeachsomewhere has done within their sport," said Darryl Kaplan, editor of Trot Magazine. "Somebeachsomewhere will be in history as the greatest athlete in this sport."
The idea isn't so farfetched, given that in 1973 American thoroughbred Secretariat was nominated male athlete of the year. The winner of the Marsh trophy will be announced Tuesday.