Navarro-trained El Deal to pass on Breeders’ Cup Sprint

El Deal_Vanderbilt 2017_615x400
Photo: NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Trainer Jorge Navarro announced Thursday on his website that El Deal, winner of last summer’s Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, will not compete in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

The 5-year-old son of Munnings returned in Belmont’s Grade 1 Vosburgh and finished second by a length as the favorite on Sept. 30.

El Deal “isn’t training the way that we think (he) should be to compete at this level,” Navarro said. “(The) horse comes from two excellent but demanding races, and at this moment it is not showing us what we’re looking for. I think it’s better to give him some time off skipping the Beeders’ Cup.”

El Deal has won nine of 17 starts with earnings of $575,000. Owned by Al and Michelle Crawford Racing, he most recently worked out Oct. 14 at Monmouth Park, moving a half mile in 48.40 seconds, third-fastest of 24 at that distance.

El Deal was earlier that month caught up in a controversy after Navarro planned to enter the horse to run in Laurel Park’s Frank J. De Francis Dash, but track owner the Stronach Group reportedly declined to accept Navarro’s entries. The trainer was filmed in August celebrating a win at Gulfstream Park in which one of his owners, Randal Gindi, referred to Navarro as “the juice man.”

Del Mar, site of this year’s Breeders’ Cup, is not a Stronach track.

“Breeders Cup is the event where any trainer wants to participate,” Navarro said, “but we have to do what is best for the horse and not for us.”

The trainer still figures to send Sharp Azteca in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and could also enter War Story as a longshot  Navarro has come close to winning in the year-end championships, saddling Private Zone before a runner-up effort in the 2015 Sprint at Keeneland.


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