Mr. Jagermeister, the all-time leading Minnesota-bred money earning thoroughbred, was retired Saturday following a workout at Tampa Bay Downs in which he was preparing for next week’s Pelican Stakes. The 7-year-old, who had earned $700,839 in 37 starts, returned to the barn following the workout when it was discovered that he had suffered a condylar fracture of the left front.
“We breezed him and everything went fine,” trainer Valorie Lund said. “He came back off. At first we thought it was his foot.” But the veteran trainer quickly knew it was something more and called for an x-ray. It was then the fracture was determined.
A younger horse might return from such a setback but Lund knew it was time for Mr. Jagermeister to retire. “I’m sorry to see him go. He was such a joy,” she said. Plans are in the making for a potential career in the breeding shed.
Mr. Jagermeister returned to his barn in Ocala where Lund keeps a string of 30. “He was wanting to play in the aisle,” she said. “He’s feeling fine.”
Mr. Jagermeister exploded onto the scene in the summer of 2017 when as a 2-year-old he broke
his maiden at Canterbury at first asking by 11 ½ lengths. His second start was a runner-up finish in a Prairie Meadows stakes race followed by the easiest 15 ½ length win in the Northern Lights Futurity, the premiere race for statebred 2-year-olds. A month later he met the talented Amy’s Challenge in the Shakopee Juvenile. That battle became one of the most memorable at Canterbury. The filly defeated Mr. Jagermeister by a fraction of a length after the two dueled down the stretch.
Mr. Jagermeister would continue to face top competition throughout his career. While he is all-time for statebreds in earnings, he is seventh overall in money earned racing at Canterbury. The son of Atta Boy Roy, who Lund also trained, made much of his purse money the hard way.
“He always met tough horses,” Lund said. “He was really an astounding racehorse.”
He won 13 of 37 starts with six seconds and four third-place finishes in a career that will lead to a Canterbury Hall of Fame induction.
In 2018 Mr. Jagermeister finished second to Mitole, then one of the nation’s fastest sprinters, in an Oaklawn stake. Later in his career he was second to Whitmore, a future Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner. His brilliant speed carried him far. In his final race on January 9, a Tampa Bay Downs sprint that he won by seven lengths going away, Mr. Jagermeister recorded a career best 100 Beyer Speed Figure.
It was a race in his 3-year-old season that Lund remembers the most. That year began in the Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita where he tired on a blistering pace. He next romped in a Turf Paradise allowance before facing Mitole and heading south to Shakopee. He went favored in the 10,000 Lakes against older statebreds and won by eight lengths. Mr. Jagermeister was and is the only 3-year-old to win that stake in 28 renditions.
Following a tenth place finish in the Mystic Lake Derby, his first turf try, Jag went on a three-race sweep of the Victor Myers, Minnesota Derby and Minnesota Classic Championship. It was the Derby Lund recalls fondly.
“We wanted to keep him off the rail. He won by so far. Leandro [Goncalves] was standing up and cruising in,” she said. He won by 10 lengths in 1:40.37, just .17 seconds off the track record established in 1985. “Four off the rail all the way around. Geared down,” she remembered.
Family was planning to come to Tampa for the $100,000 Pelican Stakes, which was to be Mr. Jagermeister’s next start, this coming Saturday. They will still visit and Lund hopes she can enter a maiden 3-year-old she has high hopes for. “They will still come. We will party but instead it will be a retirement party.”