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Mojo Race Recap: Cool
Hand Butte's 3rd Race
Cool Hand Butte (by Sky Mesa out of Sheza Nasty Lady), made his third start in a 7.5 furlong Maiden Special route race over the turf on Friday, August 29.
Entered in Race 5 at Remington Park, Butte lined up against eleven other runners—only one of which he had previously raced against in his 2nd start.
“Coming out of the mid-summer break between race meets (Lone Star Park and Remington Park), I knew Butte would be fresh; but I wasn't sure how alert he would be,” said Fred Taylor, Mojo’s CEM. “He's known to have some focus issues (nothing unusual for a 2YO colt that's bred to run route races), and I wasn't sure if not having any racing action for 47 days prior would affect his attentiveness. So, I was cautiously optimistic about how he would run this time out." Fred went on to explain: "During his last race, Butte was mentally checked out until the top of the stretch, and by the time the rider got Butte into the race, they had been left behind by the two front runners. Butte just has a lot of natural talent, and that's what allowed him to hit the board. So, the goal this time out was to see if he could be sharp all the way around."
From the start, Butte was away well and settled in nicely along the rail behind three horses setting the pace. The times were modest, and the fractions were respectable (:23.8 for a ¼ mile and :48.8 at the ½ mile pole). And, for the first 6 furlongs, Jockey Jareth Loveberry, had Butte into the race and in good position stalking behind the leaders. Going into the far turn, Butte was skimming the rail behind the front runner Gasupthejet and poised to make a move at the top of the stretch. As the horses straightened for the run to the finish, Loveberry found an opening and angled Butte into the two path in order to move around Gasupthejet.
Down the stretch, Gasupthejet drifted off the rail and moved over on Cool Hand Butte, sandwiching him between Tizwonderfulcreek who was closing from off the pace with a clear shot down the middle of the track. Gasupthejet ultimately interferred with Butte, forced him back, and the two clipped heals at the 16 pole. Butte stumbled, lost his stride, and that prevented him from having a clean/normal finish. Unabated by the shenanigans, Tizwonderfulcreek drove home to finish first. Gasupthejet carried on to finish second. Runaway Bling was closing along the rail and avoided the altercation to finish 3rd. And, Butte collected himself and got up for 4th. After an immediate Steward's Inquiry, Gasupthejet was eventually disqualified to 4th, Runaway Bling (not involved in the incident) was moved up to 2nd and Butte was placed 3rd.
“It's racing; this stuff happens; but it is frustrating nonetheless," Fred said. "Thankfully, Jareth was able to stay onboard and Butte had the talent/coordination to quickly collect himself at the peak of the race. Things were going along well up to that point just like we hoped. Butte looked sharp; the rider was getting ready to make a big move; and then Butte was tripped by the other horse with little time to recover. At that point, I'm just glad there wasn't a nasty spill and amazed that our horse was able to finish strong."
Speaking with Mojo's Trainer, JR Caldwell explains: "Butte ran a really good race. He showed me the kind of improvement that I was looking for. The incident in the stretch is unfortunate because we didn't get to see Butte's closing kick. That said, for the horse to gather himself, stay in the race, and finish on the board, that says something about his abilities. Plus, the rider never raised his stick. He may haved tapped him on the shoulder a couple of times; but he never got after Butte - the horse was running strong on his own, and that says something about his talent too. If he comes out of the stumble without any injury, then he'll gain some good experience from this race and he'll move forward from it."
How is Butte doing? "There didn't appear to be any obvious injury when he walked back to the barn," JR says. "You have to keep in mind (at the time the horses clipped heals and Butte stumbled), that was a lot of weight going down head first that was instantly adjusted at top speed. Anything can happen. So, we'll have to keep a close eye on him over the next couple of days to see if he tweaked anything. If we're lucky, he may have a pulled muscle or ends up with a sore tendon. And, he'll probably be a little stressed by the unexpected close encounter too. I hope this is something that can be overcome with rest and a little time."
Can you say what’s next for Cool Hand Butte? “Back at the barn, he didn't lose his appetite and that (to me) is a good sign,” Fred says. “He's a feisty horse anyway; but you could tell he was worked up after the race. If nothing serious flares up, then JR will get him settled and have him ready to break his maiden in his next out in several weeks. Hopefully that's all we have to be concerned about.”