This weekend is the Ralph M. Hinds Invitational Handicap at Fairplex Park, and a fitting time to honor our retiree Denied, who ran a very close second in this race in 2003. The notations in the Daily Racing Form say "resisted" and "outfinished". Not at all suprising because this horse is a fighter.

Denied ran thirty five races with ten wins; he was eight times second; and seven times third. It is clear that he gave his best whenever asked, and he placed twice in Grade 2 events, running head to head with greats like Inesperado, Spring House, Storminaway,Reddatore, and Bluesthestandard. Denied was a very serious racehorse.

But his greatest fight came at the end of his racing career, when in two unformful starts out of his last five races he finished more than twenty lengths back. Something was clearly very wrong, but Denied fought back to come second by a head and then go on to win in his last two starts in 12,500 claiming races at Santa Anita. Denied, however, was in trouble, and shortly thereafter he shattered his sesmoids. Now he was in for the fight of his life, and suddenly, there was no one in his corner.

If ever there was a poster child for why racing must institute a uniform retirement system for the protection of the horses it is Denied. After thirty-five brilliant races he became one of the "unwanted horses" we hear so much about today. Thankfully, Tranquility Farm was able to come to his rescue, and after a long and difficult rehabilitation he is now sound enough to truly enjoy his retirement. Denied spends his days in a paddock where he happily watches the world go by, and his nights bedded in a warm and comfortable stall. As he so deserves, and was so nearly denied.