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Breeders' Cup 2017

The Lumber Guy Fine But Hushion Weary

The Lumber Guy Fine But Hushion Weary
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 fine.”

 

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 hear.”

 

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.”

 

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