While there were several good size class drops heading into the race today at Oaklawn, it didn’t seem that Horny was THAT outclassed by this field.
He broke well and Justin Shepherd settled him into position 6th in the 7 horse field. The leaders, including the dropper from $32,000 – and eventual winner – Smart Spree, took off and never came back. In fact, when the horse on our outside nosed in front of us in the first quarter mile, the horses barely changed position through the finish line. They clocked the first quarter in just about 22 seconds flat and 3/4 in :57.22 before finishing up the six furlongs in 1:10.26 over a track listed as ‘good’.
Justin said that he broke well but started playing with his tongue almost immediately all the way down the backstretch. He finally started to get into the bit some turning for home but the damage was done and Shepherd let him finish mostly under his own power with just a couple of taps to keep him straight. The horse that finished 6th was life and death to do so with his jock wailing away on him to get him home. I’m glad Justin didn’t go that route, but rather kept him mind on business made him finish and didn’t sour him on the experience.
He’ll ship to Canterbury next weekend and we’ll look to have him ready for that second weekend with some rest and class relief.
Not the way we would have chosen to start the season but it’s not the end of the season either. We’ll get him where he belongs and look to win some races this summer.