Greetings Race Fans,
When a “false start” occurs in the sport of track and field, all runners return to the starting blocks and begin the race again. In team sports, one blown call doesn’t usually change the outcome of a game. If an unfair advantage is gained at the start of a horse race, it is often the result of an inexperienced or inattentive “gate crew”… and the consequences can be devastating.
On Saturday night at Fairmount Park Cocoa Bandita was saddled in the paddock to cheers from a throng of local supporters. Our muscular filly was full of pre-race excitement as apprentice jockey Brooke Stillion got a leg up. The pair made it to the starting gate with high hopes for an upset. As the bell sounded and the gates opened Cocoa broke dead last, in the seven horse field, and was quickly 4 1/2 lengths behind the leaders. She was barely in contention on the back stretch and raced in sixth place all the way around, unable to make up ground from the troubling start. You could feel the shock and disappointment from her fans at the finish.
After the race I asked Brooke Stillion about the awkward break. She said the handler in gate #7 had a firm grip on Cocoa’s reins and tugged her back just as the bell sounded. CB tossed her head and jumped out of the gate instead of firing forward as she normally does. The unfortunate incident prevented Cocoa from getting any forward momentum. The trip we had hoped for and the result we anticipated were lost.
After the race a group of Cocoa’s connections walked to her barn on the backside to offer consolation and unconditional love. There was blame to go around but certainly not for Cocoa, her trainer or jockey. On the bright side, our white faced filly now has a race under her belt and will get a “fresh start” at a different, more professional track.
Summer Classic, will make his third career start in race #3, Monday, June 13 at Delaware Park. Our 3yo gelding leaves from post #7 with jockey Scott Spieth aboard, post time is 2:15 pm (EST).
Summer Classic shortens from a two turn, One Mile And Seventy Yards race on May 14 at Penn National, to this Six Furlong confrontation. Spieth, who also exercises Classic, feels he may be best suited as a closer going 3/4 of a Mile. We wish him well as connections continue to experiment with distance and running style.
Our well traveled warrior, who was nursed back to health, has started in Florida, Pennsylvania and now Delaware. This Maiden Claimer offers a purse of $13,000 and a claiming tag of $7,500. #7 Summer Classic is the (5/2) morning line favorite in the eight horse field. #2 King James Court is the (7/2) second choice, while #6 Ovation Point Rvf is the (4/1) third choice. SC has an opportunity to break his maiden on Monday. Just remember Classic, it is okay to be “confrontational!”