12/03/2010 6:33PM

Ucan’tcme, promising 2-year-old, dies suddenly

Alyssa Spakowski/Equi-Photo
Ucan'tcme died of ulcerative colitis just before he was to run in the Pennsylvania Nursery.

Ucan’tcme, a 2-year-old colt that owner-breeder William Hartwell called the best prospect he has had in his nearly 40 years raising horses, died suddenly on Nov. 23, just one day after he was entered in last Saturday’s $75,000 Pennsylvania Nursery at Parx Racing.

A son of Bowman’s Band bred in Pennsylvania by Hartwell and his wife, Frances, Ucan’tcme was a victim of ulcerative colitis, according to William Hartwell.

“In 38 years of breeding horses, I’ve never had that happen,” Hartwell said. “It comes on very suddenly with very little warning signs. They went to put a saddle on him to take him out for a workout and found him on his knees. They called a vet right away, but there was nothing the vet could do.”

Ucan’tcme defeated open maiden special weight company by four lengths in his fourth career start, running six furlongs in 1:09.81, and followed up by winning the $72,000 Christopher Elser Memorial, a stakes restricted to horses who spent time in South Carolina, by nearly six lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 89.

“He was the fastest thing I ever had my hands on,” Hartwell said. “We couldn’t wait to stretch him out. The only other 2-year-old I’ve seen who could run six furlongs in 1:09 and change was Smarty Jones.”

Hartwell said he turned down four offers from potential buyers of Ucan’tcme. He added that trainer Ramon Preciado, who had big plans for Ucan’tcme, was even more devastated by the colt’s quick demise than Hartwell and his wife.

“Ramon was destroyed,” Hartwell said. “We just never expected something like that to happen. One day he was popping his eyeballs out ready to run and the next day he was dead.”