Two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal, the male turf champion of 2018 and subject of a contentious debate between his current owner and former trainer, has been retired to Old Friends Farm in Kentucky, owner David Bernsen announced Wednesday.
Bernsen, who recently bought out majority owner Gary Hartunian, had Stormy Liberal evaluated in Florida by David Scanlon. According to Bernsen, initial X-rays and bloodwork showed nothing amiss, but a more extensive nuclear scan and an MRI on Stormy Liberal’s ankles on Monday revealed issues that would keep Stormy Liberal out of training for at least six to eight months. As a result, he has been retired.
According to a statement from Bernsen, the diagnosis showed “Stormy Liberal has full thickness cartilage defects on the palmar (back) aspect of the medial condyles in both front fetlocks. These lesions present a significant risk for future athletic soundness. He needs a minimum of 6-8 months off/out of training.”
Bernsen said the issues in the fetlocks were previously undiagnosed.
Stormy Liberal, 7, a gelding, won 12 of 37 starts and more than $2.2 million. He finished eighth in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, which turned out to be his final career start. He won the Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs in 2018 and at Del Mar in 2017. He was trained by Peter Miller.
Bernsen said Stormy Liberal would remain in Florida for the next month before being transferred to Old Friends via a previous agreement he had with Michael Blowen at Old Friends.
A full story will be posted shortly at www.drf.com