Eightyfiveinafifty should be able to return to training in a
week after receiving 14 stitches to repair a cut suffered during his premature
departure from the racetrack during the running of Saturday’s $100,000
Whirlaway at Aqueduct Racetrack, trainer Gary Contessa said Sunday morning.
“We have absolutely dodged a bullet here,” said Contessa,
who trains the speedy colt for Harold Lerner. “This could have been the end of
his career and instead this horse is out a week. He has always been a very
level-headed horse so there is no reason to think he will not forget this
incident and return to being the fastest three-year-old in the country.”
Jorge Chavez, who was unseated during the incident, also
escaped injury and is expected to return to riding on Wednesday, according to
Eightyfiveinafifty, the 2-5 favorite in the Whirlaway off
his impressive 17¼-length maiden victory at the Big A in January, went
extremely wide on the first turn of the 1 1/16th mile race and
unseated Chavez when he crashed through the outer railing, jumping another
fence before taking off through the stable area.
He was nabbed inside Gate 6 by a security guard, suffering a
two-inch cut on his right hind leg. Contessa said that when he was caught,
Eightyfiveinafifty’s bit was broken in two and the bridle was off his head, but
added he did not know if the equipment malfunction occurred before the colt
bolted or as he was wandering through the barn area.
Eightyfiveinafifty, who in his maiden win earned a 105 Beyer
Speed Figure, the highest of any 3-year-old this year, was sound and full of
energy Sunday morning, said Contessa. The trainer, who planned to use the
Whirlaway as a stepping-stone towards the traditional New York
preps for the Kentucky Derby, the Grade 3 Gotham on March 6 and the Grade 1
Wood Memorial on April 3, did not speculate on when the colt would next run.
“Yesterday was just another
example of how difficult it is to have everything go right in this game,” said
Contessa. “Let’s let the horse do the talking and he will tell me when and
where he returns to race again.”
Peppi Knows, who
went on to a one-length victory over Afleet Again in the Whirlaway, is being
pointed to the Gotham.
Chavez took off his lone mount on Sunday, but his agent,
Mike Monroe, said he would be back on Wednesday. The jockey was taken after the
race to North Shore
complaining of back pain and was released Saturday evening after X-rays and a
CAT scan were negative.