Two days after she was ruled out of the Breeders’ Cup, standout Irish filly Santa Barbara was euthanized on Thursday after complications set in from a fractured pelvis.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien alluded to “a setback” when announcing that his star 3-year-old would skip the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. That setback turned out to be a fractured pelvis. When complications set in late Wednesday, the daughter of Camelot was euthanized.
“Santa Barbara fractured her pelvis and, unfortunately, the fracture displaced overnight,” O’Brien told the Racing Post. “It’s obviously a real shame for everyone. She was a very talented filly.”
Santa Barbara illustrated talent by winning Grade 1 races at Belmont Park and Arlington Park. She captured the Belmont Oaks Invitational in July, then validated that score by winning the Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park the following month.
An overseas trip was good for Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara needed that after a slow start to her 2021 campaign. She finished fourth as the 5/2 co-favorite in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, fifth in the Epsom Oaks to Snowfall, and second at the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curraugh.
That prompted O’Brien to send Santa Barbara across the Atlantic in search of better opportunities. That half-length victory in the Belmont Oaks Invitational and three-length score in the Beverly D. provided those. They also provided Santa Barbara with an inside path to the Breeders’ Cup this fall, an opportunity O’Brien didn’t rule out until earlier this week. That’s when the aforementioned “setback” shelved Santa Barbara’s further North American adventures.
Mother Earth shoulders the burden now
It also opened the door for stablemate and 1,000 Guineas champion Mother Earth to ride in and create her own adventures. O’Brien said he’d send her to the US to run the races Santa Barbara couldn’t.
Santa Barbara possessed Breeders’ Cup success in her genes. She was a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup winners Iridessa and Order of Australia. The latter won the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year at 73/1, after drawing into the field late.
Santa Barbara ran only six times in her career. She won three of those, including those last two, good for $731,938 in career earnings.