Zulu Alpha, an Arkansas-owned Grade 1 winner, moves from one Kentucky venue to another.
The 8-year-old Street Cry gelding settled in Monday at Old Friends, a thoroughbred retirement farm in Georgetown, Ky. Little Rock owner Michael Hui and trainer Mike Maker announced Zulu Alpha's retirement after the gelding was scratched from Saturday's running of the Grade 2 Calumet Turf Cup Stakes downstate at Kentucky Downs.
Claimed by Hui for $80,000 at age 5 in 2018, Zulu Alpha captured the 2019 Calumet Turf Cup (a race sponsored by his Lexington breeder, Calumet Farm) and went on to seven graded victories. He earned more than $1 million in 2019 but scored his greatest victories last year, at 7, in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland.
Zulu Alpha retires with 12 wins from 37 starts with earnings of $2,269,084.
"He took us on the ride of a lifetime and reached a level of success we could only dream of," Hui (prounced Hoy) said in an Old Friends release. "Seven graded wins later, he now will call Old Friends home. Thank you Mike Maker and team, thank you Old Friends and thank you Zulu Alpha; we are forever in your debt."
Zulu Alpha lost both starts this year, his last outing Aug. 14 when seventh in the Grade 1 Mr. D at Arlington. A maiden winner at 4 for trainer Jose Fernandez, Zulu Alpha won at Churchill Downs for Neil Howard when claimed by Hui and sent to John Ortiz, joining Maker in south Florida.
"We didn't feel like he's competitive at a top-level anymore," NBC analyst Randy Moss quoted Hui in a Twitter message. "And if anything happened to him I couldn't live with myself."
A Monticello native, Hui won multiple Grade 3 turf stakes with Hogy, whom he claimed (also for $80,000) in August 2017. Winning 19 races and earning $1,339,782, Hogy died in August at Old Friends.
Neither of Hui's turf stars raced at Oaklawn, which lacks a grass course. His most successful local runner is Exulting, winner of the 2019 Oaklawn Mile and twice in Hot Springs this year after reclaimed by the owner for $7,500.