- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Eightyfiveinafifty 'full of energy' following Whirlaway incident
EIGHTYFIVEINAFIFTY (Forest Camp) should be able to return to training in a week after receiving 14 stitches to repair a cut suffered during his premature departure from the racetrack during the running of Saturday's $100,000 Whirlaway S. at Aqueduct, trainer Gary Contessa reported Sunday morning.
"We have absolutely dodged a bullet here," Contessa explained. "This could have been the end of his career and instead this horse is out a week. He has always been a very level-headed horse so there is no reason to think he will not forget this incident and return to being the fastest three-year-old in the country."
Jorge Chavez, who was unseated during the incident, also escaped injury and is expected to return to riding on Wednesday, according to his agent, Mike Monroe.
Eightyfiveinafifty, the 2-5 favorite in the Whirlaway off his impressive 17 1/4-length maiden victory at the Big A in January, went extremely wide on the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile race and unseated Chavez when he crashed through the outer railing, jumping another fence before taking off through the stable area.
He was nabbed inside Gate 6 by a security guard, suffering a two-inch cut on his right hind leg. Contessa said that when he was caught, Eightyfiveinafifty's bit was broken in two and the bridle was off his head, but added he did not know if the equipment malfunction occurred before the colt bolted or as he was wandering through the barn area.
Eightyfiveinafifty was sound and full of energy Sunday morning, according to Contessa. The trainer, who planned to use the Whirlaway as a stepping-stone toward the traditional New York preps for the Kentucky Derby (G1), the Gotham S. (G3) on March 6 and the April 3 Wood Memorial (G1), did not speculate on when the colt would next run.
"Yesterday was just another example of how difficult it is to have everything go right in this game," Contessa said. "Let's let the horse do the talking and he will tell me when and where he returns to race again."
PEPPI KNOWS (Stephen Got Even), who went on to a one-length victory over AFLEET AGAIN (Afleet Alex) in the Whirlaway, is being pointed to the Gotham.
Chavez took off his lone mount on Sunday, but Monroe said he would be back on Wednesday. The jockey was taken after the race to North Shore University Hospital complaining of back pain and was released Saturday evening after X-rays and a CAT scan were negative.