Photo: Benoit Photo
In five graded stakes races over a six-month period starting in
February, Clubhouse Ride had proven competitive with Game On Dude four
times and won the Dude-less, Grade II Californian at Hollywood Park. So
it was with high hopes that trainer Craig Lewis saddled the 5-year-old
son of Candy Ride for the San Diego Handicap on July 27.
The result was a last place performance, beaten nine lengths by
Kettle Corn, that had Lewis mystified. Until he got the results from
blood work following the race that showed Clubhouse Ride low in both red
and white cell count.
“We’re still speculating somewhat, but we think it’s related to
stress and ulcers,” Lewis said. “We’ve had him on medication and it
seems like he’s going in the right direction.”
Five weeks after the San Diego Handicap disappointment, Clubhouse
Ride returns to the races in Saturday’s $90,000 Harry F. Brubaker
Stakes, the 3-1 co-second choice on the morning line.
“There’s no guarantee he’s going to run well. But we’re hopeful, and
we’re going to find out,” Lewis said Thursday morning. ”I wouldn’t run
him if I didn’t think he was doing well, but I’m still concerned. I
don’t know if he was tailing off or what the reality of it is. We just
think this is the reason. Although he broke his maiden here, he might
not be a true synthetic horse either.
“We’re hopeful he’ll put in maybe one of his better races. We’re
hoping he’ll put in the same kind of performance he did in the
Californian. And he’s being reunited with Garrett Gomez.”
Gomez was aboard for a half-length loss to Game On Dude in the
Charlestown Classic in April and the Californian victory but on hiatus
or suspension for a fourth-place finish in the Hollywood Gold Cup and
the San Diego Handicap.