Uxbridge-owned one-eyed wonder horse and 2020 Queen’s Plate winner Mighty Heart retired

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Published May 18, 2023 at 10:57 am

Mighty Heart with owner and breeder Larry Cordes Photo Jennifer Morrison

Mighty Heart, the one-eyed wonder horse who won the pandemic-delayed Queen’s Plate in 2020 and captured the hearts of racing fans everywhere, has retired.

Owner and breeder Lawrence Cordes of Uxbridge made the decision to retire the six year-old horse, a two-time Canadian Horse of the Year, after a bruised foot incurred while racing in Florida this spring did not improve.

Foaled at Curraghmore Farm in Waterdown, just outside Hamilton, Mighty Heart had to have his eye removed when he was only a few months old after a paddock injury. He did not race as a two year-old and his first two efforts as a three year-old in New Orleans did not go well and he was shipped north to Woodbine and to Hall of Fame trainer Josie Carroll on the eve of the pandemic.

Mighty Heart won his first race in a maiden special weight in July and placed third in an allowance on August 1. Little regarded in the prestigious Queen’s Plate at 13-1, Mighty Heart stunned the crowd, with Daisuke Fukumoto aboard, by pulling away in the stretch to win by 7 ½ lengths.

The one-eyed horse, by now a fan and betting favourite, captured the Prince of Wales Stakes – the second leg in the Canadian Triple Crown – but failed in his attempt to take the third leg at Fort Erie, the Breeders Stakes, when he faded to finish seventh.

Mighty Heart was an easy choice as Horse of the Year in 2020 and followed that up with three wins as a four year-old – including a romp over 2019 Belmont Stake winner Sir Winston in the Autumn Handicap – to become a two-time Horse of the Year.

Mighty Heart was back racing as a five year-old in 2022 and placed third twice before setting up shop in Tampa Bay where he recorded his final victory in January 2023 before two unplaced efforts and the foot injury hastened his retirement.

The story of Mighty Heart, who won seven races in 25 trips and earned more than $1.1 million, is well documented by noted horse racing writer Jennifer Morrison, whose book ‘Run with a Mighty Heart’ has already sold more than 700 copies. Morrison, a Brampton resident, is the TV Host and media promotions extraordinaire for the Ajax Downs racetrack and a mainstay at both Ajax and Woodbine races.

Cordes and his family have not decided where the horse will stand at stud but for now Mighty Horse is enjoying a well-deserved rest at Ballycroy Bloodstock, north of Caledon near the Simcoe County hamlet of Loretto.

Mighty Heart winning the 2020 Queen’s Plate. Photo Michael Burns

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