Julien Leparoux, who was unseated by Diva Delite in this evening’s Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, has no broken bones after being examined at Sinai Hospital, according to his friend Fanny Salmon. The Eclipse Award winner is bruised with sore muscles but is expected to ride Saturday at Pimlico Race Course. The 26-year-old has eight mounts on the Preakness card, including Pleasant Prince in the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.
Trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., Acting Happy was making only the fourth start of her career with just a maiden win to show for her efforts. The daughter of Empire Maker was runner-up in a pair of first-level allowance races at Gulfstream Park entering the nine-furlong Black-Eyed Susan.
But the step up in class did not seem to bother the dark bay/brown filly, as she received an ideal pace-pressing trip under Jose Lezcano while following longshot Khancord Kid through opening splits of :23.78 and :47.54. Tidal Pool, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), and Harissa were also tracking the leader.
As they went into the far turn, there was a near-disaster a bit further back, as Diva Delite clipped heels with C C's Pal. The incident caused Diva Delite to stumble badly and rider Julien Leparoux was thrown over the top of the filly. Trailing Diva Delite was Seeking the Title, and she was also thrown off stride while unseating Kent Desormeaux.
Desormeaux seemed to escape injury, but Leparoux received medical attention on the track before he was taken to nearby Sinai Hospital for further examination. Leparoux’ friend, Fanny Salmon, a television producer working for HRTV, spoke with him after he returned to the jockey quarters.
"He broke a tooth and he’s experiencing some chest pains,” she said, “but he has no broken bones."
The Eclipse Award winner, though bruised and with sore muscles, is expected to ride Saturday at Pimlico Race Course. The 26-year-old has eight mounts on the Preakness card, including Pleasant Prince in the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown. Desormeaux will ride Paddy O'Prado.
There was no immediate word on the condition of the horses, as both were caught by outriders immediately after the race and initially seemed to be unharmed.
Meanwhile, Khancord Kid, Tidal Pool, and Acting Happy were heads apart coming off the final turn. After Acting Happy wore down a stubborn Tidal Pool approaching the sixteenth-pole, she had enough to hold off a late charge from No Such Word, hitting the wire in front by 1 1/2 lengths.
The final time over a fast main track was 1:50. No Such Word and Terry Thompson were 2 1/4 lengths clear of third-place Tidal Pool.
“The reason why I picked this spot is the longer the distance the better for her," Dutrow said. "And she’s two-turns also. I didn’t want to mess around with any one-turns with her. I’ve always liked this horse. As you can see, I ran her a mile and eighth her first start. She’s probably the best filly I’ve ever had. I just can’t wait to see more of her."
Bred in Kentucky by Samantha Siegel and Mace Siegel, Acting Happy is out of the Pine Bluff mare I Ain’t Bluffing. She improved to 2-2-0 from four starts and upped her earnings to $141,540.
The winner paid $22.20, $10.80, and $5.50. The exacta (4-1) returned $166.80 and the trifecta (1-4-6) was $640.20.
Harissa finished fourth, followed by Khancord Kid. C C's Pal, and Patriot Miss. Diva Delite and Seeking the Title did not finish.
Other notable winners on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard were Gainesway Stable’s Starfish Bay, who set a pressured pace under John Velazquez before fending off a determined late charge by Suzzona to capture the $70,000 The Very One Stakes on the turf; Preston Stable’s Central City holding on to score a narrow victory in the $70,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint with Julien Leparoux aboard; Marchfore Thoroughbreds’ Vindy City outrunning four other 3-year-old fillies to take the $70,000 Ms. Pink Warrior Preakness Stakes under Kendrick Carmouche for trainer John Servis; and Repole Stable’s Lights Off Annie using a ground-saving under Rajiv Maragh to record a front-running win in the $70,000 Skipat Stakes.