Sunday, May 22, 2005

Afleet Alex wins and survives a very scary moment

Scrappy T, was four lengths ahead of Afleet Alex and kicking toward the wire. But Afleet Alex was rolling like a bullet train, and Scrappy T's rider, Ramon Dominguez, knew it.

With a quarter of a mile to run, Dominguez slapped his colt's hip with his whip left-handed. Scrappy T suddenly bolted to his right. His feet became tangled with Afleet Alex's, and in an instant Afleet Alex was scraping his knees in the dirt.

Rose was staring at the ground between the horse's ears. The air was sucked out of the racetrack, and in a clubhouse box, the trainer of Afleet Alex, Tim Ritchey, let loose with a frightened expletive.

But Rose grabbed his colt's mane, clamped his legs and pulled; Afleet Alex reached out with his front feet, vaulted forward and immediately reclaimed his stride.

"We're going to win anyway," Ritchey roared.

And they did: Rose and Afleet Alex bounded down the stretch to finish four and three-quarter lengths ahead of the wobbly legged Scrappy T and his shaken jockey, Dominguez.
Courtesy NY Times

It was one of those great horse racing moments and I was sure glad to see that horse stagger up and go on to win. A really breathtaking moment - that jockey could have easily been killed if he had fallen off and had the 10 horses behind him run right over the top of him, not to mention the horse, who could have easily broken his legs. It shows you the incredible strength of these beautiful animals and the cool composure of Jeremy Rose, his rider, who was scared big time but hung on.

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