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Darley to return infertile Songster to training; BLOODSTOCK WORLD.

Byline: By Rachel Pagones

SONGSTER, a multiple Graded stakes winner who entered stud as part of Darley's Kentucky division this year, has been withdrawn from stallion duties and put back into training after failing to get any of the mares he covered in foal.

Darley said the cause of Songster's problem is undetermined.

However, there is no plan to pursue his stud career, although a decision has yet to be made on who will train him.

"It's obviously an unfortunate situation, but one that happens occasionally in our business," said Charlie Boden, nominations manager for Darley USA. "Our goal now is to take care of the breeders who committed to Songster the best we can. After that, we look forward to seeing him perform once again on the track."

The five-year-old son of Songandaprayer won four of his eight starts, initially for Darley, with Tom Albertrani as trainer, and later for Godolphin and Saeed Bin Suroor. His most notable success came in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup over 7f as a three-year-old. He also won the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes that season, taking the 6f Grade 3 contest by ten lengths.

He won on his only start at four, the 6f Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap, but was then retired with a soft-tissue injury. In all he was first or second seven times, all but two at Graded level.

Songster is the latest in a string of high-profile stallions to suffer crippling fertility problems upon their retirement to stud. Last year it was George Washington,

Coolmore's ill-fated 2,000 Guineas winner, who made headlines when he was returned to training after impregnating only a handful of mares.

Such sub-fertility, or a limited capacity to get mares in foal, is more common than Songster's outright failure.

Cigar, the first Dubai World Cup winner and record earner, who was acquired by Coolmore from Alan Paulson upon his retirement, is the most prominent example of a completely infertile stallion. Cigar's non-viable sperm led to a reported EUR25 million insurance payout from Italian insurers Assicurazioni Generali SpA.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 17, 2008
Words:344
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