MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (Oct. 5, 2008) – Calder Race Course is proud to present the Retired Thoroughbred Ceremony during the Festival of the Sun on Saturday, Oct. 18. Each year, Calder honors a former racehorse that now enjoys a life away from the racetrack.
Calder is pleased to welcome back millionaire racehorse Shake You Down, the winner of three straight Graded stakes races in 2003, including Calder’s $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (G3) on Summit of Speed day. His Beyer speed rating for the race was the second highest of the year on dirt for races less than a mile with a 121.
One of the top sprinters in the country, Shake You Down won 22 of his 65 lifetime starts, including six stakes races, and earned over $1.4 million in his career.
After breaking his maiden in 2001, Shake You Down raced in mid- to high-level allowance races in the Northeast, catching the attention of trainer Scott Lake. In 2003, Lake claimed the horse for $65,000. It turned out to be a profitable claim.
Under Lake’s command, Shake You Down posted a five-win streak including three stakes wins: the Bold Ruler Handicap (G3), the True North Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) and the Smile Sprint.
After Shake You Down won the True North in sloppy conditions, Lake said, “I’m so proud of him. The fractions were fast and he kept going. He just wouldn’t quit.” His rider Mike Luzzi added, “He’s a really fast horse.”
The streak ended when Shake You Down ran fourth in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G2). Poised for a win in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Shake You Down finished a brave third to Cajun Beat. His next race, he came back with a second in the Frank F. DeFrancis Memorial Dash and then a win in the Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct.
In the money 11 of 13 starts with seven wins, two seconds and two third place finishes, Shake You Down earned consideration for a 2003 Eclipse Award for sprinting, finishing third in the voting.
In 2004, the gelding won the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park for his final stakes victory. Shake You Down raced two more seasons, but with age and the typical aches and pains associated with time on the track, Cole did not want to take any risks with a horse that had been so good to him. Shake You Down was retired sound and healthy to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in 2007.
Shake You Down’s new home is the TRF’s Florida division at the Marion County Correctional Institution in Ocala where prison inmates derive emotional and educational benefits as the horse’s caretakers. Farm manager John Evans refers to the gelding as “a grand-looking chestnut.” He added, “‘Shake’ exudes class.”
After their racing careers, many Thoroughbreds go on to a second career in the breeding shed, other horse sports, or even as horses used for therapy with humans. Some, like Shake You Down, are fortunate to touch lives helping inmates develop responsibility, pride and self-esteem.
‘Shake’ will be presented with a bouquet of carrots, a blanket and a piece of art featuring him sprinting during the Retired Thoroughbred Ceremony. To accept on his behalf will be a representative from the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA), sponsors of the retirement farm in Ocala.
Calder Race Course presents the 17th renewal of the Festival of the Sun in 2008. Calder’s signature event, the Festival of the Sun presents six stakes races worth $1.2 million. Two of the stakes are the finals of the rich Florida Stallion Stakes. The Florida Stallion Stakes program, now in its 27th year, was created to promote Florida-bred Thoroughbreds and the $5 billion industry that supports them. The day also features the $100,000 Miami Mile Handicap (G3) and the $100,000 Spend A Buck Handicap (G3). Complementary attractions, including Calder's one-of-a-kind Horse Fair, make the Festival of the Sun a complete and memorable family experience.