In a day that saw both Twinspired and Apriority stumble at the start of their respective races, the story was not so much about today’s winners but rather about those we lost.
Twinspired (Harlan’s Holiday—Historical Drive, by El Prado [IRE]) finished third behind Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom in the G3 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes and second by a nose to Brilliant Speed in the G1 Bluegrass Stakes before finishing 17th in the Run for the Roses. Since then, he has popped up primarily in allowance races. Today he was sent off as the sixth choice in the 8th race at Gulfstream Park, a 1 3/8 mile allowance optional claiming race. He stumbled at the start recovered to vie for the lead before tiring to finish tenth in a field of eleven. Three races later, Apriority (Grand Slam—Midway Squall, by Storm Bird) also stumbled at the start, grabbing a front quarter leaving the gate in the G3 Mr. Prospector Stakes. He recovered quickly to stalk the pace and just nipped Zero Rate Policy by a nose at the wire. The Grand Slam colt left his blood on both the track and in the winner’s circle in his first ever graded stakes win.
A lot more than just blood was lost today at Gulfstream, though. During this morning’s workouts, four horses suffered severe injuries, and three of the four had to be euthanized. One of the horse’s put down was the Mike Maker trained Stevie Jones (Smarty Jones—Southern Streamer, by Dixie Union). The Smarty Jones juvenile was zero for three lifetime, finishing 9th, 4th, and 7th in his three maiden races, tiring each time. In an interview with Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form, Maker stated, “He was a bad actor at the gate but showed a lot of promise. We were planning on switching him to the turf for his next start.” The Kenneth Ramsey owned colt broke down nearing the finish of his five-furlong work. The other horses that broke down during morning workouts were unidentified horses trained by Angel Quiroz, Ken McPeek, and Rick Dutrow. There did not seem to be one specific spot on the track that was causing problems across the board; the horses that suffered catastrophic injuries broke down at various points on the track.
Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno—Ponche de Leona, by Ponche) did not finish his half mile work as a result of the training mishaps. He ran his first furlong in 11.78, but exercise rider Nick Petro, Jr. was forced to rein in his mount to avoid a horse that had broken down along the inside rail midway around the bend. As if that was not bad enough, Petro had to alter course again to pass a second horse that was down near the seven-furlong marker on the clubhouse turn. Despite missing this morning’s work, trainer Kathy Ritvo stated in an interview with Mike Welsch of the DRF, “I might even skip this week altogether. If he gets too tough and I need to do something with him, I’ll breeze him either Wednesday or Thursday. Whenever I’m setting a horse up for a race I always allow for an extra week in case of bad weather or something crazy like [what] happened this morning, so we should still be perfect.” Mucho Macho Man is being pointed to the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.
Force Freeze (Forest Camp—Antifreeze, by It’s Freezing) also got the morning off due to the slew of training mishaps. Trainer Peter Walder told DRF reporter Welsch, “I don’t think what happened this morning was the fault of the racetrack. I feel it was more a matter of too many people working and pushing their horses to go today.” Officially 110 horses worked this morning at Gulfstream; that number does not include the four that broke down during their works. Walder canceled his charge’s workout rather than take any unnecessary risks. Force Freeze’s next start is the G2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship.