01/28/2013 2:37PM

Tampa Bay: Purple Egg almost ready to resume training

Tom Keyser
Purple Egg hasn't raced since winning the Inaugural at Tampa Bay Downs last Dec. 1.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – The barn of trainer Jane Cibelli continued on a hot streak last week, winning four more races, but the excitement of those victories was tempered a bit because the “big horse” in the barn, undefeated 3-year-old Purple Egg, has been sidelined since winning for the third time in the Inaugural Stakes on Dec. 1, opening day at Tampa Bay Downs.

Purple Egg earned a career-best 81 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Inaugural but spiked a fever shortly after the race and Cibelli had to back off on her training with the colt. While Purple Egg’s temperature dropped to normal after a few days, it spiked again shortly before his next scheduled start, the Pasco Stakes on Jan. 12, forcing Cibelli to scratch him from that race.

Cibelli decided to take him out of training and allow whatever problem was causing his fever to be eradicated completely.

“We just decided it was best for the colt to make 100-percent sure he was over whatever was bothering him,” Cibelli said. “He’s been eating up well and he’s tearing the barn down in the morning, so it sure looks like he’s back to his old self.

“He’s going to gallop and jog this week, then we’ll pick up the pace next week. We’re still hopeful he can make the Tampa Bay Derby, but if not we’ll look at some other spots. It’s a long year and we want a sound and healthy horse. He’s going to get his chances to show what he can do, whether it’s sooner or later.”