Trainer Paco Gonzalez hopes to be rewarded for his patience
with Color of Courage in the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap, a Grade I test at
seven furlongs on Cushion Track Saturday.
The 4-year-old gelding returned from a 19-month layoff with
a pair of sharp allowance victories at this meet to earn a berth in the stake
against seven rivals.
“He had a chip taken out of a knee at the end of his
2-year-old season,” explained Gonzalez. “I was going to bring him back last
summer at Hollywood
Park, but the day he was
entered - Oct. 6 - a heavy, sudden rain storm flooded a section of Cushion
Track on the backstretch and the races were canceled.
“I entered him back three days later but in between he got a
temperature and was scratched,” continued Gonzalez. “He got sick and I turned
him out for two months at John’s farm (owner John Toffan of Bradbury).”
Color of Courage needed a lengthy period to recover but has
come back like gangbusters, rallying from far back to win a 6 ½-furlong
allowance race May 15 and overcoming a stumbling start to win a seven-furlong
allowance race June 10 in 1:21 3/5 and earn a 101 Beyer figure.
“He grabbed a quarter in that race but it healed quickly,”
said Gonzalez of the homebred by Came Home out of the Holy Bull mare Color
“He’s a bigger horse than Came Home,” said Gonzalez of his
multiple stakes winner.
How will Color of Courage fare in Grade I stakes company?
“We’re going to find out,” said Gonzalez.