Starlight Racing’s Intense Holiday has been retired from racing after undergoing surgery to repair a broken ankle on Monday.
He was in line to take a crack at California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes on June 7, but suffered the injury during a five-furlong breeze on the Belmont main track on Sunday.
Twelfth in the Kentucky Derby, Intense Holiday won the Grade II Risen Star at Fair Grounds for Starlight, whose managing partners are Don Lucarelli of Duanesburg and Jack Wolf.
“Intense Holiday seemed to come out of the Kentucky Derby as well as he had any of his prior races, and he was training remarkably well at Belmont Park when the injury occurred,” trainer Todd Pletcher said in a Starlight release. “These types of blows are never easy to take, but this one was particularly confounding.”
“You never get used to this stuff,” Wolf said. “It’s disappointing, but the horse did not seem to be in much distress right after the injury and we’re happy that they were able to repair the injury to the extent that they could. He’s a good horse, a talented horse, who has provided us with some thrilling finishes. But whether they’re worth $5,000 or $5 million, this is always a bitter pill to swallow.”
Plans for Intense Holiday’s future are not yet finalized. Starlight Racing is currently in negotiations with several stallion farms.
Alan Sherman, assistant trainer for Triple Crown contender California Chrome, said the colt was ready to run long before he even set foot on the track at Belmont Tuesday for a workout.
“He was feeling really good today,” Sherman told the New York Racing Association. “He was dragging me around the [shedrow] before we went to the track. He’s on it.”
California Chrome noticeably tugged at exercise rider Willie Delgado during his gallop, which pleased Sherman.
“When I was watching through the binoculars, I saw when he grabbed a hold of Willie,” said Sherman. “You can always tell because he leans on him and you can see Willie start to lean back. He was galloping good and strong today. I was happy about it.”
Delgado said it was difficult for him to resist the temptation to let California Chrome go faster.
“Today, he was much more sharp,” said Delgado. “I let him [go to] see how far he’ll go pulling me like that, but then I have to slow him down. I’m like, ‘No, son, you got to get back over here.’ ”
ADD MEDAL COUNT
Blue Grass runner-up Medal Count, a troubled eighth in the Kentucky Derby, will point toward the Belmont, trainer Dale Romans told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Tuesday.
Romans said he’s willing to give the colt another shot at California Chrome because of all the traffic that compromised him in the Derby and the fact that he’s been training so well.
Robby Albarado keeps the mount.
PLETCHER MONEY LEADER
With Jack Milton’s win in the Grade III Poker at Belmont on Monday, Pletcher became the all-time money-winning trainer in North America, passing his former mentor, D. Wayne Lukas.
Pletcher-trained horses had won $268,512,294 after the Poker purse was added, just over $45,000 more than Lukas.
In addition, Pletcher swept all three stakes on the Memorial Day card at Belmont, also taking the $100,000 Jersey Girl with Red Velvet and $200,000 Pennine Ridge with Gala Award.
“I think [setting the record is] a product of inflation, to be honest, and I don’t think anybody is going to match Wayne’s accomplishments in this business,” Pletcher told the New York Racing Association. “That said, it’s still a satisfying milestone for the team and a record to be proud of.”
RAINBOW SIX HIT
Dan Borislow, best known in racing for having owned multiple graded-stakes winner Toccet, hit the Rainbow Six at Gulfstream Park for $6,678,939 on Sunday, a day before there was supposed to be a mandatory payoff on the wager.
Borislow’s hit on the bet, which is the same as a conventional Pick Six but only pays if there is one unique ticket with six correct winners, likely cost Gulfstream Park millions of dollars in handle on Monday.
The payoff easily beat the previous high of $3,591,245 collected by an unidentified bettor in New Jersey in February 2013.
Borislow won by hitting the “all” button in five of the six legs and four horses in the sixth, two each on separate tickets that each cost $7,603.20 for a total investment of $15,206.40 to win the jackpot.