Todd Beattie is happy to be in California with Fabulous Strike for the Sentient Flight Group Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I). He had hoped to be at last year’s Sprint, but instead had to battle a lung infection that could have ended the gelding’s racing career.
“We were eight or nine months trying to get him back,” Beattie said. “We had to aggressively treat him for three months. He had to have doses of penicillin four times a day.”
In order to receive antibiotics that often, Fabulous Strike had a stent in his neck, because a horse’s muscles simply cannot endure that many injections.
Beattie keeps his own training barn at Penn National, which allowed him to oversee Fabulous Strike’s treatment. That way the gelding could stay in his own stall, where he felt comfortable.
“He started to get let down pretty good,” Beattie said. “That’s why it was so long to come back.”
Fabulous Strike developed the lung infection after winning the 2007 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I), and was away from the races for nearly nine months. He won the six-furlong Vincent A. Moscarelli Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park June 21, and then lost the 2008 Vosburgh by a head in the slop to Black Seventeen after nearly ripping a shoe off his left front foot in the paddock.
“He’ll side-pass and he’ll step on himself and catch the heel,” Beattie said.
Beattie brings Fabulous Strike to the paddock in bell boots and is careful not to take them off until the last minute to avoid that problem. Before the Vosburgh, Beattie took off the bell boots, reached up to straighten a piece of equipment on the saddle, and Fabulous Strike stepped over and pulled three-quarters of the shoe off.
When the blacksmith nailed the shoe back on, he could only get two nails into the shoe. The nails never came out on the other side of the hoof, and the blacksmith couldn’t clinch them securely.
“When he ran, the shoe slid about an inch off the side and was flopping,” Beattie said. “I’m not saying that’s what beat him, but it couldn’t have been a good thing, especially on a muddy track.”
To be sure the foot was OK, Beattie had a blacksmith pull the shoe off the night after the race and treat it with iodine. The trainer left the shoe off for a couple of days just as a preventive measure, and Fabulous Strike never took a bad step. The gelding shipped to California Oct. 14, and has been training under Beattie’s tutelage with regular exercise rider Heather Werley in the saddle.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez, who has ridden Fabulous Strike in his last three starts, including both Vosburghs, is slated to ride him in the Sprint. Bred and owned by Walter Downey’s Tea Party Stable, the 5-year-old son of Smart Strike —Fabulous Find, by Lost Code, drew post 3 and has been installed the co-second choice with Cost of Freedom.
***Sprint morning-line favorite Street Boss worked three furlongs in :38.20 on the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface Oct. 22 for trainer Bruce Headley. Headley co-owns the 4-year-old son of Street Cry—Blushing Ogygian, by Ogygian, with Marsha Naify and Simon Yu.