10/14/2016 12:36PM

Royal F J finds his way back home

Shigeki Kikkawa
Royal F J, now 9, was reunited last week with trainer Jack Carava.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Trainer Jack Carava was reunited with an old friend last week when he claimed the popular 9-year-old gelding Royal F J, who debuted in August 2009 and has made 79 of his 89 career starts for Carava.

Royal F J was surprisingly claimed away from Carava in March for $20,000 and finished out of the money in his next eight races while being placed in much tougher spots. He was put in an $8,000 claimer here on Oct. 6, and Carava took him back. Royal F J finished fifth, his ninth straight finish out of the money.

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“We’ll see what he wants to do,” Carava said. “For a horse his age, he has very few problems, probably because he’s run three-quarter speed his whole life. He’s never reached his full potential.”

Royal F J, a gelding by Royal Academy, has won just seven of his 89 starts, but he’s earned more than $500,000.

“If he wants to run, we’ll run him,” Carava said. “If he doesn’t, we’ll stop and give him to a little girl for a riding horse. He’s been part of the family all these years. I hated to see him running like he was. He’s a fun, old dude.”