Photo: West Point Thoroughbreds
The morning after the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational, winner The Lumber Guy was said to be in fine
fettle, while trainer Mike Hushion was feeling weary.
“I’m exhausted,” said Hushion. “He came back
The toll on Hushion may have been emotional. Although he had been
confident in his colt leading up to Saturday’s six-furlong race, he was
feeling jittery by the time the horse got to the paddock.
“Typically of me, and I think I’m not the only one, the
last couple of days I tend to get cold feet,” Hushion said. “By the
time I’m putting the saddle on, they can’t
win. I think I learned that from [Allen] Jerkens, actually. I was a little
concerned about the track because when Johnny [Velazquez] came out he said it
seems like the horses love it or hate it and that wasn’t what I wanted to
The Lumber Guy handled the track fine as he posted a 1 ¼-length victory
over eight others in the six-furlong race. One of only two 3-year-olds in the
field, The Lumber Guy beat an accomplished group including Grade 1 winners Sean
Avery – with whom he was coupled in the wagering – and
Poseidon’s Warrior. For Hushion, the turning point in his attitude about
the Vosburgh was easy to pinpoint.
“Just before they came around the bend turning for home, when he
loomed up there I said, ‘Well, this is going to be the telling
time,’” the trainer said. “Then I got blocked a second, for
about four jumps, and then I saw he was in front and I felt pretty good. It
didn’t look like anything could get to him.”
Now The Lumber Guy is Breeders’ Cup bound, though Hushion said
that he and owner Barry Schwartz have not yet decided whether the New York-bred
son of Grand Slam will run in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at
six furlongs or the $1 million Dirt Mile.
“We talked about [the races] again; we’re going to keep
talking,” said Hushion, whose only previous Breeders’ Cup starter,
Noteasybeingreen, finished 10th in the Juvenile in 1998 at Churchill
Downs. “One consideration is that the [Dirt Mile] is two turns out there,
which I’d like him to do, but I’d like him to do what he’s
already proved he can do around one turn this time. So, we’ll see.
We’ll see what the competition looks like. My best guess would be
I’d go five to six days before; I’m not interested in going out
there for a couple weeks. We’ll let him gallop over the track.”