(Edited Churchill Downs Release)
The racing career of graded stakes winner Rush Bay ended when he apparently took a bad step on the Churchill Downs turf course on Saturday as he was closing in on an apparent victory in his season debut.
Trainer Tom Amoss said the 5-year-old son of Cozzene tore the suspensory ligament in his left front leg in his runner-up finish for Phoebe Mueller and Mueller Thoroughbred Stable. He said the injury ended the racing career of Rush Bay, and the effort to find a home for the horse for his next career as a stallion is underway.
Rush Bay had pushed past the pacesetting Junior College in mid-stretch when he suddenly faltered under jockey Rafael Bejarano and the former battled back to win by a nose under Jesus Castanon. Amoss said he knew something was amiss when Rush Bay surrendered his lead near the wire, and feared the worst when his veteran runner fell on the first turn as he galloped out after the race. An ambulance took Rush Bay from the track.
“I think it actually happened very near the wire,” Amoss said. “I watched him gallop out and he was smooth as silk, then all the sudden he just got very abrupt. I thought he had broken his leg when he fell."
The race was the first for Rush Bay since he turned in one of the better efforts of his career in a fourth-place finish in the 2006 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Rush Bay completed his racing career with a record of 6-5-1 in 18 races, but he was clearly at his best when he raced at Churchill Downs. He ran eight times on turf or dirt at Churchill and compiled a record of 4-3-0 in those races. He earned $742,847 in his career.
Rush Bay’s efforts at his home track at Churchill included victories in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) and Opening Verse on grass. He notched his first career victory at two on the main track at Churchill Downs and followed that effort with a runner-up finish in the 2004 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at the track.
Bred by Phoebe Ann Mueller Trust, Rush Bay is out of the Deputy Minister mare Seoul.