OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Two dominant performances by juveniles at Aqueduct on Saturday left one camp heartened and another heartbroken.
Old Fashioned announced himself as a serious contender for next year's Kentucky Derby by utilizing his speed to roll to a 7 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen Stakes for juvenile colts. The win improved his record to 3 for 3 for owner Rick Porter and trainer Larry Jones, the same connections that finished second in the last two Kentucky Derbies.
Thirty minutes earlier, Springside rallied from last to demolish her five rivals by 9 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2, $200,000 Demoiselle for juvenile fillies. However, she was pulled up about a sixteenth of a mile after the finish by jockey Garrett Gomez and was diagnosed with multiple fractures in her right front pastern, according to Dr. Greg Bennett, who described the filly's condition as "guarded." Springside was to be shipped by van to the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center on Sunday for further evaluation.
Old Fashioned, a son of Unbridled's Song, entered the Remsen off two wins at Delaware Park and was seemingly meeting tougher in here. With speed holding in the first four dirt races, jockey Ramon Dominguez wasted no time putting Old Fashioned on the lead and he quickly opened up a 1 1/2-length lead by running a quarter-mile in 24.41 seconds. He remained clear through splits of 49.44, 1:14.18, and 1:38.11. Dominguez hit Old Fashioned once left-handed at the eighth pole because he was lugging in. Old Fashioned covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.33 and returned $3.50 as the favorite.
"He was super sharp out of there, and once he made the lead, he was just running great against the bridle," Dominguez said. "And turning for home, I took a peek back, hit him one time, and he took off. Very impressive."
Atomic Rain, who raced close to the pace, got second by 2 1/2 lengths over American Dance.
Four years ago, Porter, who races under Fox Hill Farms, and trainer John Servis won the Remsen with Rockport Harbor, a gray son of Unbridled's Song who had foot problems that prevented him from making the Kentucky Derby. This year, Porter and Jones finished second in the Kentucky Derby with Eight Belles, a daughter of Unbridled's Song who suffered a fatal breakdown while galloping out after the race.
"It'd be great to take a gray Unbridled's Song back to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May and come out sound and with the trophy," said Porter, who spent $800,000 on Old Fashioned as a yearling.
Jones said Old Fashioned would be shipped to Fair Grounds on Dec. 2 to begin preparing for his 3-year-old campaign.
"If he can get a mile and an eighth as a 2-year-old, you can get another eighth of a mile out of them by the first Saturday in May," Jones said.
Springside's career in doubt
On a day when speed was superior on dirt, Springside was extremely impressive rallying from last to blow by the field in the stretch under Garrett Gomez. But shortly after the wire, Gomez heard a pop and immediately jumped off the horse.
Springside, who shipped down from Canada for the race, was walked onto the van and taken back to her Aqueduct stall for X-rays.
"She switched leads galloping out, and I just heard a pop," Gomez said. "She never indicated there was anything wrong; she never took a bad step. When she switched leads, I don't know if it was switching weight from one side to the other, but there was a little pop. Hopefully, I got her stopped in time where there was no severe damage."
Dr. Bennett told NYRA officials there were multiple fractures in the pastern.
Springside, a daughter of Awesome Again owned by James and Alice Sapara, won for the third consecutive time. She ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.71 and returned $13.20.
"We liked this filly very much, that's why we took a shot and came down there," said trainer Josie Carroll, who watched the race from Woodbine. "She ran that same kind of race in her last start. Hopefully, we'll come through this. Pretty tough day."
Boleyn outfinished 3-5 favorite Sky Diva by a nose for second. Dominguez, the rider of Sky Diva, said his filly was attempting to get out down the backside.
Aqueduct, 6th Race - November 29, 2008
Aqueduct, 7th Race - November 29, 2008