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Updated on 10/14/2011 1:41PM
Keeneland: Leparoux exits spill apparently with only minor injuries
By Marty McGee
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Julien Leparoux had his run of good luck extended Sunday, even without winning a race. Leparoux already had enjoyed a sensational first two days of the Keeneland fall meet by riding four winners Friday and another four Saturday, but it was a crashing defeat in the Bourbon Stakes on Sunday that might have yielded the most fortunate result of his entire weekend.
Leparoux was thrown into the infield in a scary spill when his mount, Here Comes Frazier, shied from his whip as they led the field in midstretch of the Bourbon on the Keeneland turf. Leparoux escaped with only minor injuries to his right thumb and wrist.
“He’s going to get it checked out later this afternoon,” Leparoux’s agent, Steve Bass, said early Monday. “His thumb was hurting him, but he said he felt pretty much okay.”
Bass said Leparoux intended to see orthopedic specialist Dr. Ray Shea in Louisville, where Leparoux lives, “just for precautionary reasons. From all I can tell, he’ll be back riding Wednesday. All in all, we’re really lucky, with the Breeders’ Cup and everything right around the corner.”
With his eight wins, Leparoux, the 2009 Eclipse Award-winning jockey and six-time Keeneland riding champion, already has a commanding lead atop the standings. Even after the Bourbon, he rode his two remaining mounts on the Sunday card, neither of whom hit the board.
Meanwhile, Here Comes Frazier was not as lucky. Trainer Ken McPeek reported Monday morning that the 2-year-old colt, who was making just his second career start in the Bourbon, was to undergo surgery at the nearby Rood and Riddle equine hospital for a compound fracture of his right hock.
“He’s probably got three or four fractures in the hock, and the biggest one is going to require a screw being inserted,” said McPeek. “It looks like he’ll survive, but more than likely he’ll never run again. This is a tough one for us.”
Here Comes Frazier won his only prior start by seven lengths. He led all the way in the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon before the incident, which all trailing horses and riders avoided by quickly veering away from the inner rail.
Never Retreat’s next up in the air
Chris Block, by phone from Chicago, said about an hour after Never Retreat notched her fifth graded stakes victory of the year – and the first of her career in a Grade 1 – by winning the First Lady here Saturday that he has “no idea” where and when the mare will race next.
“Running in the Breeders’ Cup just doesn’t make any sense, so I don’t have any idea what to do next,” said Block. “She’s a 6-year-old mare at the peak of her career, and we’re just grateful for all she’s done. We’ll just have to enjoy this for a while.”
Block said the 1 3/8-mile distance of the BC Filly and Mare is not suitable, nor is facing the likes of Goldikova and Gio Ponti in the BC Mile.
50-cent pick five a hit
The 50-cent pick five is proving very popular with Keeneland horseplayers. Offered daily on the last five races, the pick five went unhit Saturday, with the resulting carryover helping to lift the Sunday pool to $337,020, resulting in winning payoffs of $14,321.
Also, the last-race super high five went unhit the first two days before it was taken down Sunday, with each winning $1 ticket worth $14,572.
Together coming back quickly
Comerford said Coolmore and O’Brien intend to take the somewhat unusual step of running their standout 3-year-old filly, Together, back on just six days’ rest in the Grade 1, $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on the Keeneland turf Saturday.
Together was second to Never Retreat in the First Lady and would face such top 3-year-old fillies as Winter Memories and Summer Soiree in the 1 1/8-mile QE II, the sixth and last Grade 1 of the meet. Other invitees include Nereid, Kathmanblu, Marketing Mix, More Than Real, and Star Billing.
The fall stakes schedule resumes Thursday with the $150,000 Jessamine Stakes, the female counterpart to the Bourbon. An oversubscribed field of 2-year-old fillies, led by Slip Along Band, Soonerette, and Emerald Gold, are entered in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.
The remaining stakes here this week are the $100,000 Franklin County on Friday, followed on Saturday by the QE II and the $125,000 Keeneland 75th Anniversary Stakes.
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