Trainer Ian Wilkes reported Sunday morning that Fort Larned came out
of his fall at the start of $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) with
a grabbed quarter. Otherwise, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic victor
seemed to have escaped further injury after stumbling and falling
heavily to the track in his 2013 debut Saturday.
“He’s walking good this morning. We’ll keep a close eye on him a
couple more days to make sure nothing else comes up. Otherwise, he
looked good this morning,” Wilkes said. “He grabbed a quarter. It wasn’t
too bad. It could have been a lot worse.”
Two jumps out of the starting gate, the 5-year-old star, who was
sent to post as the 4-5 favorite, stumbled badly and tumbled to the
ground, unseating jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., who escaped injury.
“You don’t like to get started like that,” Wilkes said. “Hopefully,
we got all the bad luck out of the way and we just moving ahead. You had
this race mapped out for four months and you know your horse is on the
top of his game and ready to run. It was just a bad step. He was too
sharp out of the box. It’s just one of those things in racing.”
As disheartening as he found the incident to be, Wilkes was able to count his blessings Sunday morning.
“How lucky do we get? The horse fell on his head; he’s lucky he
didn’t really hurt himself. He could have ripped his whole heel off or
he could have broken his leg. The way he fell, his whole head hit the
ground,” Wilkes said.
Churchill Downs spring meeting would be a likely spot for Fort
Larned’s return to action, but his trainer is concentrating on the
immediate future with the son of E Dubai.
”I just want to make sure he’s OK. The next few days we’ll keep a
close eye on him and we’ll evaluate where we’re at,” Wilkes said. “You
just want to be sure he’s 110 percent before you start making plans.”