Maryland-based gelding Glorious Empire, who rose from the claiming ranks to become a Grade 1 winner and Eclipse Award finalist for champion male turf horse in 2018, has been retired from racing at the age of 9.
Glorious Empire, owned by Matthew Schera, left the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton early last month for a farm owned by trainer James “Chuck” Lawrence’s II’s mother in Marshall, Virginia, located about 90 minutes west of Laurel Park.
“He seems quite happy with his new lifestyle,” Lawrence said. “We just kept him here at the barn and let him down, trying to make up our mind exactly what we wanted to do. For right now we have him turned out down at my mom’s in Virginia with another retiree and they’re loving it.”
Bred in Ireland and raced in Europe and Hong Kong before making his first North American start in the fall of 2016, Glorious Empire had not raced since finishing 11th over a turf course rated good in the Red Smith (G3) Nov. 23 at Aqueduct. He had two subsequent works over Fair Hill’s all-weather surface, the most recent coming Feb. 22.
His recovery from a leg injury delayed Glorious Empire’s 2019 season debut until September and limited him to just three starts, beginning with Laurel’s Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3). Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado was aboard in both the Red Smith and a fifth-place effort in the preceding Knickerbocker (G2) at Belmont Park.
“He just wasn’t showing me the same desire that he had after coming back from the injury,” Lawrence said. “Edgar Prado thought that he was really protecting himself, even though he seemed good. You don’t want to take a chance with a horse that’s won a Grade 1, so we made the decision to let him have a good retirement.”
Glorious Empire also launched his outstanding 2018 campaign and first with Lawrence at Laurel, running sixth in the Henry S. Clark Stakes off a seven-month layoff. He reeled off three straight wins including the Bowling Green (G3) and Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga, then was 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), contested over a bog at Churchill Downs.
Six weeks later at Gulfstream Park, Glorious Empire bounced back with a convincing triumph in the Fort Lauderdale (G2), besting a field of 13 graded-stakes winners, five of them Grade 1. He exited the race with a tear in his right front suspensory ligament and underwent an innovative procedure that included minor surgery and a stem cell infusion to promote healing.
College wrestling: Johns Hopkins junior Dominick Reyes (Loyola Blakefield) was named a Second Team All-American by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. This is the first All-America nod for Reyes and he becomes the eighth All-American in program history; all eight have come since 2008.
Traditionally, wrestlers earn All-America honors at the NCAA Championships, where the top eight finishers are awarded All-America status. With the cancellation of this year’s championships due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NWCA selected All-Americans based on the season-long body of work throughout the 2019-20 season.
Reyes posted a 34-2 record and won Centennial Conference and NCAA Southeast Regional titles at 165 pounds. He had earned his second trip to the NCAA Championships with his first-place finish at the regional championships and was on-site at the NCAA Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa when the NCAA announced the cancellation of all winter and spring NCAA Championships. The cancellation came less than 20 hours before Reyes was set to begin competing.
The 2020 Centennial Conference Wrestler of the Year, Reyes ended the season with a school-record 24-match winning streak and 21 of his 34 wins on the year were of the bonus-point variety as he counted 12 pins, six major decision and three technical falls to his credit. He is the only wrestler in school history with 12 or more pins in two different seasons.