05/14/2014 12:52PM

Sahara Sky will not defend Met Mile crown due to ulcers

Benoit & Associates
Sahara Sky, who ran a disappointing seventh in the Churchill Downs Handicap on the Kentucky Derby undercard, will miss the Met Mile at Belmont Park due to ulcers.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Sahara Sky will not win the Met Mile again this year.

A post-race examination following his uncharacteristic seventh-place finish May 3 in a Grade 2 stakes at Churchill Downs revealed Sahara Sky was compromised by stomach ulcers. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and assistant Dan Ward decided to keep him in California.

“He’s never run a bad race until the other day,” Ward said. “I have to think [ulcers] would be his excuse.”

Stomach ulcers typically are treated with GastroGard, and Sahara Sky is not expected to miss significant training time. He will remain in California and target the Grade 1 Triple Bend Stakes, a seven-furlong $300,000 stakes June 28 at Santa Anita.

A year ago, Sahara Sky emerged as one of the top sprinters in the country. He scored Grade 2 victories at Santa Anita in the Palos Verdes Handicap and San Carlos Handicap, finished second in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct, and won the Met Mile by a nose.

The 2014 campaign for Sahara Sky has been less productive. He finished fifth in the Palos Verdes, won the San Carlos, and finished second in the Carter prior to his seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap. He has won eight races and more than $1.1 million, including four graded stakes.

Sahara Sky could be one of two Hollendorfer trainees in the Triple Bend. Wild Dude, runner-up by a nose April 12 in the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes, will run May 26 in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap at six furlongs, followed possibly by the Triple Bend.

The Met Mile might still include a California representative. Bob Baffert said Wednesday that Churchill Downs runner-up Shakin It Up is being considered for the Met Mile, which will be June 7 at Belmont. Shakin It Up won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 and the Grade 2 Strub Stakes on Jan. 18.

Hail No More than 1 year ago
I would love to see Samraat in this race, it seems right in his wheelhouse..
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Golden Cents is also pointing for the Met Mile.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Its only the premiere middle-distance race in North America. IMO Always is represented by a top-class field of SPRINTERS, MIddle, and CutBacks. Also a Breeders dream race
John More than 1 year ago
I just retired from 30 years in medicine as a Respiratory Therapist, so lungs and heart were my forte. But, Ive learned , ulcers are just common inflamations that get worse in some people and others dont even notice them. Lots of times its , stress, worry, spicy foods, and one of the leading is combinations of meds, lasix and clenbuterol could be a culprit . A quick Milk of Maganesia and he will be back in the starting gate ...................
Electrocutionst More than 1 year ago
That sucks. I love Palace Malice and wanted to see how he stacked up against arguably the best miler in Sahara Sky.
Lawrence MacSelwiney More than 1 year ago
It wouldn't have mattered. I think Palace Malice is the best horse in the country at 8f or more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
what causes those ulcers? anyone... I know what does ...just want to hear your reason.
Jaime Dubyna More than 1 year ago
Considering that almost all racehorses have varying levels of ulcers I'd say it is stress, unnatural living situations (and feed), and drugs. In no particular order.
Mark Deckert More than 1 year ago
Good answer Jaime, as horses turned out in pasture don't develop them due to constant grazing and practically 0 stress level. Drugs have not proven to be a factor as much as the the racing/training conditions. Also, colts as opposed to geldings and fillys don't get them as often or as bad.
Stephen Matchett More than 1 year ago
years ago an aussie doctor said almost all ulcers were caused by a bacterium. almost no one believed him. he was correct.