Global Hunter turned in a magnificent effort to win the $150,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park on Independence Day, but his game head victory turned from elation to sadness when the grade I winner pulled up lame just past the wire.
The track veterinarian reported that Global Hunter suffered a dislocated fetlock of his right foreleg, according to TVG. There was no immediate update from the track, although his connections told reporters that every effort would be made to save the 7-year-old Argentina-bred son of Jade Hunter. He was able to load onto the track ambulance under his own power before being transported off the turf course to his barn, according to TVG.
Global Hunter, who won the Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT) at Del Mar more than 11 months ago, races for L-Bo Racing and Monte Pyle and is trained by A.C.Avila.
Ridden by Brice Blanc, Global Hunter tracked the pacesetter Temple City in the 1 1/8-mile American while racing in third along the inside. The big bay angled out for the stretch drive and drove relentlessly to get the lead past mid-stretch. Under urging from Blanc, Global Hunter courageously outlasted Temple City and the rallying Hyades from between horses and hit the wire just in front with a big final lunge in a time of 1:48. He pulled up quickly in distress, however.
Blanc said he had no indication prior to the finish that anything was wrong.
"He just took a bad step," the French jockey told TVG. "He seemed to bobble and just broke down. He was traveling well all the way around, so comfortably. He was all heart."
Avila had no comment after the race.
Temple City, ridden by Joe Talamo, finished second, a half-length better than Hyades and Victor Espinoza. Temple City received five pounds from the 118-pound high weight Global Hunter.
With the scratch of Compari, Temple City was left as the lone front-runner in the field of eight and Talamo took advantage, opening up a 1 1/2-length lead over Red Door Drive and Global Hunter while clipping off easy fractions of :24.64, :49.38, and 1:13.31 over the firm turf. Red Door Drive weakened in the stretch, but Global Hunter closed with determination to get the job done, winning for the eighth time in 30 lifetime starts. The $90,000 winning purse boosted his career total to $611,365.
Hyades, who raced mid-pack under 114, followed Global Hunter into the stretch and made his presence felt with a strong closing kick. Glowing Praise, who rallied from seventh before tiring in the stretch, finished fourth. He was followed by Red Door Drive, favored Meteore, Quindici Man, and Oil Man.
Global Hunter had just one prior start in 2010, finishing sixth in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) at Hollywood May 31. He had turned in a pair of strong works on the Santa Anita training track last month. Out of the Telescopico mare Griffe de Paris, he was bred by La Providencia. He has won seven of 17 starts on turf during his career.
Sent off as the second choice, Global Hunter paid $8, $5, and $3.80 and keyed a $47.80 exacta. Temple City, looking for his first stakes win for trainer Carla Gaines, returned $7.80 and $5.40. Hyades, who ran second in the 10-furlong Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) one month ago at Hollywood, was $3.60 to show.
Besides Compari, Riviera Cocktail also scratched.
Trainer Neil Drysdale, who has won the American three times, said Riviera Cocktail, who has won all three of his starts on the Hollywood Park grass, was scratched because the 4-year-old Giant's Causeway colt was “a little dull.’’
Compari was withdrawn in favor of a start in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) July 10.