Puzzlement's Travers Work Interrupted; Accident Averted

Puzzlement's Travers Work Interrupted; Accident Averted
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Puzzlement's scheduled final breeze for the Travers (gr. I) ended abruptly near the top of the stretch Tuesday morning when jockey Jean-Luc Samyn was forced to stop the colt quickly to avoid colliding with two horses and a man on the track at Saratoga.

Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens handles the homebred son of Pine Bluff for owner Joseph Shields. Puzzlement was the last Travers horse to work this week.

The incident took place about 9:20 a.m. (ET), shortly after exercise rider Tim Wyatt was taken off the track in an ambulance. Wyatt, who was thrown from a 3-year-old gelding he was riding, was taken to Saratoga Hospital, examined and released.

Jerkens postponed the work until 9 a.m. because it was raining early Tuesday morning. The breeze was delayed again while Wyatt was being tended to.

Samyn jogged Puzzlement around the oval before starting the breeze on the backstretch...

"When we got him around the turn, in front of me was a horse out of control turning around and around by the quarter pole," Samyn said. "And there was a man behind waving his hands trying to scare him to make him go straight.

"Then I'm looking outside and there is a horse pulled up on the outside of them. At that time you're saying, `Oh, my God. 'You're making a prayer."

Samyn realized he had only one option.

"The next move is to pull him up. Hopefully we don't run over them," Samyn said. "I was very lucky to be able to pull him up and go way outside and avoid all this thing.

"It's not good that we could not breeze the distance that we wanted to go, but, on the other hand, I feel that we are extremely lucky that we did not run over any of them, the man or the horse that was out of control. We're very, very lucky that did not happen."

Jerkens, still angry after Puzzlement returned to the barn area, said he didn't know whether he would work the colt again this week.

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