Maximus Mischief, once a prospect for the classics when he capped a 3-for-3 juvenile season with a victory in the 2018 Remsen Stakes (G2), has been retired with a soft-tissue injury to his right front leg.

The Into Mischief colt, trained by Robert “Butch” Reid, was withdrawn from the March 2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) after he apparently sustained the injury during a four-furlong work Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park. He is recuperating at Eisaman Equine near Ocala, Fla.

Chuck Zacney, whose Cash is King co-owns Maximus Mischief with Glenn Bennett’s LC Racing, said April 16 the decision was made after consulting with several veterinarians.

“They said it would take six to nine months to heal, and then you’ve got training after that,” Zacney said. “We would have been right up against breeding season, and we have gotten some inquiries from Kentucky farms. There is no guarantee he could come back to the level he was at.”

Reid, who trains primarily at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa., and rarely has an opportunity to work with horses of graded stakes ability, endorsed the move.

“It would be very difficult to come back at the level he’s shown as a young horse,” he said. “It would be a great injustice to bring him back at anything but the level he was intended to be.”

The Zacney family developed a particularly strong attachment to Maximus Mischief because Chuck’s son, Alex, selected the youngster at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in May. It was the first sale Alex ever attended. Alex, 19, was the namesake for Afleet Alex , the 2005 Preakness Stakes (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner and the first horse his father owned.

Chuck, following his son’s intuition about Maximus Mischief, purchased the juvenile for $340,000. They were soon rewarded with a pair of overpowering victories at Parx before an impressive 2 1/4-length decision in the Dec. 1 Remsen at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Maximus Mischief’s 3-year-old debut, though, fell short of expectations. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the Feb. 2 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull Stakes (G2), he made the lead in the stretch only to falter and finish third behind longshots Harvey Wallbanger and Everfast.

Zacney is not sure how breeders will view the Remsen winner’s relatively small body of work.

“Do I think he’s done enough? Not sure. Not my area of expertise,” Zacney said. “But we have been getting some inquiries already, and we have from the beginning of the year. I mean, he’s a big, strong, good-looking horse.

“I guess over the next two months we’ll figure out how much demand there is. My goal is to have little Maximuses running around in 2021.”

Reid noted how difficult it will be to replace Maximus Mischief in his barn.

“I’ve been around 35 years and never had a prospect like this one,” he said. “It (hurt), but that’s part of the sport. The main thing is he’s safe and sound. He’ll have a good life. We have to go find the next one.”

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