ELMONT, N.Y. May 31, 2012 — Hearts stopped and jockeys shook as Belmont Race favorite, I’ll Have Another barely missed getting hit this morning while working out at the Belmont Track.
Coming around the Clubhouse turn, a three-year old filly, Isleta, threw her rider and went on a small joy romp on the track, finally running in between I’ll Have Another and the rail before outriders were able to catch and restrain her.
Owned by the Steinbrenner Group’s Kinsman Stable and trained by Kathleen O’Connell, the Florida-bred daughter of Bellamy Road, either reacted to the people watching the workout or to the photographers, and just reared up, unseating her rider, and took off.
I’ll Have Another had just finished the 8:45 a.m. “renovation break” and was walking barely a few feet from the outside rail, when Isleta suddenly threw her rider and started on a little meander by herself. Apparently it was a short-lived event and the outriders were able to grab her not quite half a mile from the finish line.
I’ll Have Another’s trainer Doug O’Neill reported that the filly barely grazed the boot of his exercise boy, Johnny Garcia. Both the filly and the spilled rider, Marsha Barrs, managed to escape injury also.
It also prompted O’Neill to ask the New York Racing Association officials to set aside a specific training time for the Belmont Stakes horses so that they would not be on the track at the same time as the other horses. The officials agreed and said that starting tomorrow, from 8:30 to 8:45 a.m. will be reserved for the Belmont horses However they won’t be required to train at that time.
And then it was back to business for I’ll Have Another and his exercise buddy, Lava Man.
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