Saturday Undercard: Nashville Sets Track Record, Spill Mars Second Race

The China Horse Club and WinStar Farm showed off a talented young sprinter in the opener on Breeders’ Cup Saturday at Keeneland, sending out Nashville for a track record-setting victory in the $125,000 Perryville Stakes. The 3-year-old son of Speightstown ran six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:07.89, annihilating the previous record of 1:08.43 set by A.P. Indian in 2016.

(Note: the run-up for today’s Perryville was 55 feet, while the run-up for A.P. Indian’s previous track record-setting performance was 34 feet.)

Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr., the 1-9 favorite Nashville grabbed the lead at the start and easily ran away from the field, setting fractions of :21.54, :43.87, and :55.61 without turning a hair. Santana never touched his whip down the lane, cruising under the wire an easy winner by about three lengths over Wild Wes.

Asmussen could have sent the colt to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint later on the card, but elected to take an easier route with the inexperienced Nashville.

Bred in Kentucky by Breffni Farm, Nashville is out of the unraced Mizzen Mast mare Veronique from the family of multi-millionaires Giacomo and Tiago. Nashville was a $460,000 yearling purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, and has gone undefeated in his first three starts by a total of over 20 lengths. His earnings now stand at $157,200.

The day’s second race, the Lafayette Stakes, saw a spill at the top of the stretch mar the action when Absolutely Aiden broke down. Both Dinar and Strike That were also affected and unseated their riders, but galloped out unharmed and were corralled by outriders before being taken back to their respective barns. Trainer Cherie DeVaux Tweeted that Dinar was find other than minor abrasions.

Absolutely Aiden was loaded onto the equine ambulance and later euthanized.

Keeneland released the following statement after the incident: “During Race 2 at Keeneland, Absolutely Aiden sustained an injury and was attended to by an expert team of veterinarians led by Dr. Nick Smith, Chief Veterinary Officer of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and Dr. Bruce Howard, Equine Medical Director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, in consultation with Dr. Stuart Brown, Equine Safety Director at Keeneland. During their triage and evaluation, they observed a disarticulation of his left front fetlock. Given the extent of the injury, it was unfortunately determined that humane euthanasia was in the best interest of the horse.

Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup are saddened by the death of Absolutely Aiden and offer our condolences to his connections. Throughout the Fall Meet and leading up to the World Championships, we have worked together and with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, a team of top equine veterinarians and racing surface experts to ensure every measure was in place to provide our athletes the safest conditions possible.”

All three jockeys affected by the incident escaped unharmed, and were checked out at first aid and approved to ride their remaining mounts. They are: Tyler Gaffalione (Dinar), Chris Landeros (Absolutely Aiden), and David Cohen (Strike That).

Midnight Sands also appeared to stumble over the stricken horse, and was eased down the stretch by jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. He also walked off the track under his own power.

Sleepy Eyes Todd won the Lafayette for trainer Miguel Silva and jockey Joel Rosario.

In the third race, the Fort Springs Stakes, trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Luis Saez teamed up with Merneith to defeat Motivated Seller by a neck at the finish. The 3-year-old filly is sired by American Pharoah.

Merneith has been a part of Baffert’s recent medication controversy: after finishing second in the fourth race on July 25 at Del Mar, the filly returned a positive test for Dextrorphan, a cough suppressant.

The post Saturday Undercard: Nashville Sets Track Record, Spill Mars Second Race appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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