Saul and Max Kupferberg's Sunny Desert continued her winning ways in Sunday's $67,500 Cat Cay Stakes at Aqueduct, a race that was marred by the breakdown of pacesetter Wildcat's Smile in the lane.
Sunny Desert settled in the back of the four-horse field while Wildcat's Smile led through fractions of :25 3/5, :50 1/5 and 1:13 2/5. The four-year-old daughter of Wild Desert began her move in the stretch while Wildcat's Smile was continuing her momentum up front when, suddenly, the leader broke down in midstretch, sending Eclipse finalist Irad Ortiz Jr. to the track.
The NYRA Twitter feed posted that, according to the NYRA jockey advocate, Ortiz was released from the hospital after X-rays came back negative on his left ankle.
According to the Daily Racing Form, Wildcat's Smile suffered a condylar fracture and sesamoid fracture to her right foreleg. The Forest Wildcat filly had to be euthanized on the track.
Sunny Desert, with Ramon Dominguez in the irons, came away victorious by a length in the Cat Cay, covering one mile and 70 yards in 1:42 2/5 over the fast inner track. The John Parisella trainee broke her maiden by 15 1/4 lengths over the main track at Aqueduct in March of last year and has remained undefeated ever since.
In her next start after breaking her maiden, the chestnut won her first stakes race in the Park Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes (NYSS) series and went on to capture her next three starts with two of those being stakes victories, the Staten Island division of the NYSS and the Judy Soda.
With this fourth stakes victory, Sunny Desert now has a career line which reads 11-6-3-0, $311,750.