Fiji Is Retired; Heritage Of Gold Switches to Breeders’ Cup Distaff

Instead of the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park, Fiji’s next date will be early in 2000 with A.P. Indy.

Troubled much of the year by breathing problems, Fiji has been withdrawn from Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup race by trainer Neil Drysdale. The 5-year-old mare is also being retired, and her first breeding-shed mating, probably in February, will be in Kentucky with A.P. Indy, the horse that clinched the 1992 horse-of-the-year award after Drysdale saddled him to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic here in 1992.

With no Breeders’ Cup grass race only for distaffers last year, Fiji won the Yellow Ribbon in November at Santa Anita to clinch the Eclipse Award for best female grass horse. A win at Gulfstream might have impressed Eclipse voters again, but in Fiji’s only two starts this year, she didn’t do much running in a sixth-place finish in the Yellow Ribbon, then two weeks later she was a well-beaten third in the Vinery First Lady Stakes at Keeneland.

Owned by Prince Fahd Salman of Saudi Arabia, Fiji earned $894,480, finishing with eight wins, one second and two thirds in 12 starts.


In another Filly and Mare Turf development, trainer Tom Amoss has decided to skip the grass race with Heritage Of Gold and run the 4-year-old filly in the much tougher $1-million Distaff. The opposition might be saltier--Silverbulletday, Beautiful Pleasure, Banshee Breeze and Keeper Hill--but the 1 1/8-mile Distaff distance is more to Heritage Of Gold’s liking than the 1 3/16-mile grass race.

With Fiji and Heritage Of Gold out of the Filly and Mare Turf, the French filly Louve and Canada’s Gandria can move into the field off the also-eligible list.

The $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile lost one of its favorites when trainer Nick Zito scratched Greenwood Lake, the Champagne Stakes winner. Rather than press Greenwood Lake at the end of the year, Zito prefers having the colt fresh for the preps leading to next year’s Kentucky Derby. Consequently, Personal First moves up to become the 14th horse in the Juvenile field.