Hal's Hope Dies After Undergoing Intestinal Surgery

Hal's Hope Dies After Undergoing Intestinal Surgery
Photo: AP/ Equi-Photo/ Bill Denver
Hal's Hope, winning the Gulfstream Park Handicap earlier this year.
Hal's Hope, millionaire winner of the 2000 Florida Derby (gr. I), died Friday, July 12, at the Palm Beach (Florida) Equine Hospital from complications of intestinal surgery.

"He was sick for almost a month," said Hal Rose, the breeder, owner and trainer of Hal's Hope. "He had intestinal problems and was operated on three times. He had complications during his last surgery...they weren't able to save him. There was nothing we could do or say. He was one in a million, a part of the family."

Hal's Hope won nine of 33 career starts, including this year's Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap, and earned $1,098,422. In his final career start, the 5-year-old son of Jolie's Halo was third in the Memorial Day Handicap (gr. III) at Calder.

Hal's Hope was the sentimental favorite in the Kentucky Derby due to the attachments of his owner-breeder-trainer and his regular rider Roger Velez. Alas, he finished 16th in that year's 19-horse Derby field.

After the victory in this year's Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap, a throng of Rose family members and friends accompanied the son of Jolie's Halo to the winner's circle. But as The Blood-Horse's Scott Davis reported, standing front and center both literally and figuratively, hands on each other's shoulders, were the 90-year-old trainer and jockey who have forged a most remarkable bond.

Commenting on the horse's career that included nine straight defeats over the span of a year following his big 3-year-old win, Rose chose to focus on Hal's Hope's resiliency. "I always knew he was a great horse even during the times when he didn't show it," he said. "None of his contemporaries from that year are still in training, but we're still here."

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