|Daily Racing Form|
|Saturday, November 16
|D'wildcat wins De Francis, Thunderello injured|
By David Grening
Daily Racing Form
LAUREL, Md. -- A year's worth of frustration for owner David Shimmon and trainer Bob Hess Jr. evaporated in the raw, rainy conditions at Laurel Park on Saturday when D'wildcat rallied up the rail to win the Grade 1, $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash by 1 3/4 lengths.
Longshot Deer Run rallied down the center of the track to nose out Sassy Hound for second. Completing the order of finish were Outstander, Rusty Spur, Boston Common, Avanzado, and Thunderello.
Thunderello, the even-money favorite off his second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, was pulled up midway through the race. According to trainer Scott Lake, Thunderello suffered either a tear of the suspensory ligament - the same injury he suffered as a 2-year-old - or broke the splint bone in his left foreleg.
Lake said it was too early to tell whether the injury was career ending.
The De Francis victory was a defining moment for D'wildcat, who was forced to miss the Breeders' Cup Sprint after he got sick. D'wildcat had not crossed the finish line first since the 2001 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream. Both of his victories this year - the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap on dirt and the Live the Dream Handicap on turf at Del Mar - came via disqualification.
Hess said he tried D'wildcat on turf out of frustration. He noted that D'wildcat began to improve with the addition of blinkers, equipment he first wore three starts back.
"The blinkers were more of the key than surface or distance," Hess said. "He was getting too far back sprinting and not kicking. At least today he finished."
Breaking from post 3, D'wildcat was guided to the rail early by Jorge Chavez. Rusty Spur ran an opening quarter in 22.12 seconds while being chased by Thunderello, Outstander, and Sassy Hound.
Around the turn, as Edgar Prado was pulling up Thunderello, Sassy Hound appeared to be in good position to overtake Rusty Spur. Neither of those two really kicked on in the stretch and both were overtaken by D'wildcat and Deer Run.
D'wildcat covered the six furlongs in 1:10.81 over the sloppy track and returned $14. It was the first Grade 1 victory for Shimmon's Fog City Stable.Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories