Props to the jockey for even staying on, let alone getting the horse back into contention enough for a photo finish. And with no stirrups to boot! How much extra ground do you suppose the horse covered with those detours?!?
It did not make SportsCenter's Top 10 plays, but Spicer Cub's eventful trip in Saturday's 11TH race at Pimlico has gone viral and is generating interest outside of horse racing circles.
"It was wild. He didn't give me any warning, especially the second time and went straight for the gate," Perez said. "My life went before my eyes for a few seconds. I was thinking about bailing but saw there was enough space between the gate and the rail to get through, so I grabbed his mane and hoped for the best. Once we cleared the gate he re-broke again and almost won the race. It was really close. In fact, Forest Boyce (who was aboard Turbin) congratulated me after the wire."
When you see the head-on video in the stretch - thanks CVPeg for the posting! - you have appreciate how freaking scary it was. They went outside of the starting gate parked on the track! Outside of it!
“I have watched the replay many times with my fiancé and I still cannot believe what happened. I am grateful to be here,” added Perez, who has been a regular rider in Maryland since September 2011. “The guys in the room were impressed. When I came back to the jocks room it was funny because nothing bad happened but Mary Eppler was apologizing to me, but this is part of the business. I had ridden him three times before and he never did anything like that before. He is a nice, kind horse.”
Eppler reported Sunday afternoon that Spicer Cub “is fine” with no nicks or cuts from his adventure.
Track announcer Dave Rodman, who has been calling races in Maryland since March 1991, said the wild ride involving “X Man” Perez and Spicer Cub was even more bizarre than the 2005 Preakness [with Afleet Alex] ....
“It was probably the wildest race I have ever called,” said Rodman, who managed to keep his composure and describe to his audience how Spicer Cub got back in contention despite his wacky detour."
“It beats the Afleet Alex incident in the 2005 Preakness and tops the guy running on the track. All I could do was keep my eyes on the X-Man and Spicer Cub. I can’t believe he went through that hole between the outer rail and the gate. It was really something else. I really thought he was going to win the race. Xavier did an amazing job. It was certainly a gutsy ride.”
So will Spicer Cub go on the stewards list for that trip? Wonder what set him off? My first thought the first one was that he got far enough in front that his mind started worrying over God knows what. But the second one happened when he had horses right there with him. Also, he was fine around the first turn, but not the second one. I was thinking maybe something looked different to him on that turn, maybe from the angle of the sun, or something physical was starting to kick in. Pretty erratic behavior.