02/07/2010 12:00AM

Eightyfiveinafifty leaves course after bit breaks

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Eightyfiveinafifty's bid to join the Triple Crown trail took a detour Saturday when the colt's bit broke going into the first turn of the at Aqueduct, causing Jorge Chavez to lose control of the horse who failed to finish the race which was won by Peppi Knows.

The good news for the connections of Eightyfiveinafifty is that, despite the horse crashing through two rails and nearly running off the track premises, he appeared to have suffered only a superficial cut to his right hind leg and should be able to return to the races. His jockey, Jorge Chavez, was taken by ambulance to North Shore University Hospital to be examined. According to his agent, Mike Monroe, Chavez was complaining of lower back pain. Chavez suffered a broken back seven years ago.

Monroe said Chavez told him that Eightyfiveinafifty's "bit snapped" shortly after the start of the Whirlaway, which caused the horse to go extremely wide into the first turn. Eightyfiveinafifty, who was making his first start around two turns in the Whirlaway, eventually crashed through the outside rail separating the inner track from the main track, then jumped the outer rail of the main track before being apprehended by a guard at the front of Aqueduct's stable gate.

Back at trainer Gary Contessa's barn, Eightyfiveinafifty had a gash on his right hind leg, which was bleeding. Somewhat relieved to know that his horse wasn't injured more seriously, Contessa quipped, "I need a Valium, he'll need a stitch or two."

Meanwhile, Peppi Knows, making his first start since running second to Buddy's Saint here in last November's Remsen, stalked the pacesetting Papa's Nice Cat until the five-sixteenths pole, took charge turning for home, then held off Afleet Again to win the Whirlaway by one length. It was one-half length back to Three Day Rush in third. Papa's Nice Cat finished fourth.

Peppi Knows, owned by Philip Messina and trained by Tim Kreiser, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.10 and returned $17.40. The final time was the third-slowest of 31 Whirlaways.

"Obviously what happened to the [favorite] I don't know, it helped things I guess," Kreiser said. "It would have been nice to see that horse run just to see what we had there, but we can't do nothing about that. He ran his race. We're very happy."

Richard Migliore, in just his second day back after sustaining a concussion in a spill here on Jan. 23, rode the winner.

"He's just a real nice handy little horse," Migliore said. "He's not a whole lot to look at, but he has a big heart."

Kreiser, who had to scratch Peppi Knows from last month's Count Fleet because he had difficulty acquiring workman's compensation insurance in New York, said he would look to bring Peppi Knows back in the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham Stakes here on March 6.

Meanwhile, Contessa will need to evaluate the physical condition of Eightyfiveinafifty before plotting his next move. He's just happy he will have that chance.

"He's alive, he's healthy. We'll do what we got to do to fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed," Contessa said.