Veterans Pat Day and the 9-year-old gelding With Anticipation were back in tandem for their 2004 debut at Gulfstream Park on Thursday afternoon, and although they didn't reach the winner's circle, it was a successful return.
Day, riding for the first time since late November, and Augustin Stable's With Anticipation, who had not run since last July, finished third together in a $46,000 allowance race at one mile.
The winner of the race, tasting victory for the first time following a long drought, was multiple graded-stakes winner Del Mar Show, the 7-5 favorite in the field of seven.
"I'm really happy with the way he ran," said With Anticipation's trainer Jonathan Sheppard. "We knew because of the distance the race wouldn't set up well for us, but he finished with enthusiasm."
With Anticipation, sent off as the 4-1 third choice, has not won a race since capping a three-race grade I-winning streak in the September 2002 Man O War Handicap (gr. IT).
Sheppard, who indicated that the gelding had missed training due to wet weather in Florida last week, said he would point With Anticipation to the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) on Feb. 22. "I'm not sure if he's still a grade one horse, but if not there are plenty of other good races for him," he said.
As for Day, the 50-year-old stopped riding Nov. 27 due to a progressive deterioration of the rotator cuff in his right shoulder that required surgical repair and extensive physical therapy.
Although he was winless in three mounts for the day, he reported no discomfort in his shoulder. "Everything is whipping right along," Day said. "It feels great. I had no problems doing everything I wanted in the saddle."