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Gulfstream: Discreet Dancer wins Handicap as Fort Larned loses rider at start
By Mike Welsch
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Todd Pletcher was still in the Tampa Bay Downs winner’s circle following Verrazano’s smashing victory in the Tampa Bay Derby when the field, including his Discreet Dancer, broke for Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap. And it’s surprising he was unable hear the gasp that went up from the crowd just seconds later when Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned stumbled badly just two strides out of the gate and unseated his jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
The startling turn of events somewhat tempered the tremendous performance of Discreet Dancer($5.80), who withstood an early speed duel with Fort Loudon before drawing away to a convincing 5 ¼-length decision over Swagger Jack in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap. Fort Loudon finished a tiring third followed by Gourmet Dinner and Decaf Again.
The win was the fifth of the day for jockey Javier Castellano.
The riderless Fort Larned recovered from his mishap at the gate to quickly run past the field midway down the backstretch, eventually crossing the finish line about a sixteenth of a mile in front of the field before pulling up around the turn. Fortunately both Fort Larned and Hernandez returned from the incident without any serious injuries.
“He grabbed that left front, not even on the bulb of the heel but up in the middle of the heel, way up high on the foot, that’s why he just went to his head,” said Wilkes. “Brian said it was the second jump. He just stumbled. He stood good, he just over-reached. Just getting fresh, just getting back to the races.”
Wilkes was surprisingly upbeat once able to check out Fort Larned and discover his injuries seemed to be superficial.
“He won, he won but I don’t think I’ll get paid, that’s the problem,” Wilkes quipped. “At least he didn’t run off the track. He’s a very intelligent horse. He came around the turn, finished up the race and then went out.”
Wilkes said it will take a couple of days to just make sure Fort Larned is okay before deciding on when or where he might run next.
Pletcher, by phone from Tampa, said he did not get to see the Gulfstream Park Handicap live and was only able to watch the last three furlongs of the head-on replay.
“I hate to win a race like that I really feel bad for the connections of Fort Larned,” said Pletcher. “Hopefully everything will be okay with their horse.”
Pletcher was elated, as expected, by the performance of Discreet Dancer who won for the fourth time in five career starts while recording his first graded stakes victory for the E Paul Robsham Stables.
“I was really pleased with the way he was training into the race, although you never think you can beat the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner,” said Pletcher. “But I was excited about running him and I’m glad he showed up as well as he did.”
Pletcher said he has no immediate plans regarding Discreet Dancer’s next start.
A link to "How Fast did Fort Larned Run..." http://www.followhorseracing.com/en/the-latest/blogs/2013/03/11/so-how-fast-did-fort-larned-run/
What I found interesting is that the horse resorted to what he knows and went right to the rail. It happens to Breeders Cup Champions too.
Worst post break I've seen in a while, I love fort larned so glad he didnt get hurt, he.has a lot of races to win yet!
Interesting day of racing ! To say the least !............. Dont discount Falshback just yet, insane fractions, he was 3 wide in a 22 45.1 and 1:09.2 then just getting nailed at the wire. If he settles, with that speed, he will win the Santa Anita Derby ! Goldencents needs to concentrate on winning some shorter races, he is fast, but I think too fast for a classic distance.
Ha Ha . You censored that post. You're a clocker . You know damn well that the horses pull up and go outside when the work is over. LOL. And you know damn well that loose horses almost always win. Grow up !
WOW! What a shame. No doubt Fort Larned would have won this with ease.
That's what happens when you try to run two horses in the same race whose named both begin with "Fort"...
The posts suggesting the rider jumped off are too stupid to believe. Try watching the replay again. If you had ever broken a horse from the gate yourselves you would have some appreciation of what these jockeys do every day while being chased by an ambulance .jump off , yeah, you try it .im not naive enough to think that there have been and always will be races in which the outcome is deliberately altered by a jockey or jockeys, but this race isn't one of them .
Steve , you are a dumbass.
The race was fixed, as jockey jumps off favorite. I have been around racing for over 45 years, and have seen too many jockeys jump off at the start, or pull up their horse with a mystery injury, and it is the favorite most of the time. I actually love it, cause I toss the chalk right out , and the trifecta's, and supers return good payoffs, instead of coffee change. Fort Larned is a great horse, and would have won easily, but its the jumping jockey who you have to be concerned with.For those chalk lovers who don't agree, then keep betting them, and toss your cash in the trash.
- 1.Posted 12/05/2013 01:44PM
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