In what jockey Xavier Perez called a "wild" ride, Spicer Cub bolted twice but kept running–between the parked starting gate and the outside rail–to just miss winning the final race April 13 at Pimlico Race Course.
The Mary Eppler trainee took the lead and was running easily in front but bolted midway on the far turn. Perez was able to straighten the son of Louis Quatorze at the head of the stretch. The 4-year old gelding regained the lead at the top of the stretch but bolted to the outside again, causing Perez to lose his irons inside the three-sixteenths pole.
The duo then raced between the parked starting gate and the outside rail in mid-stretch, and Spicer Cub closed determinedly under strong urging to just miss breaking his maiden. Spicer Cub, who went off at 2-1, lost by a nose to Turbin.
"It was wild," Perez said. "He didn't give me any warning, especially the second time and went straight for the gate. My life went before my eyes for a few seconds. I was thinking about bailing but saw there was enough space between the gate and the rail to get through, so I grabbed his mane and hoped for the best.
"Once we cleared the gate he re-broke again and almost won the race. It was really close. In fact, Forest Boyce (who was aboard Turbin) congratulated me after the wire."
The replay of the race on YouTube (http://youtube/FbH3N5VJzBE) had been viewed more than 13,400 times as of the afternoon of April 14.
Eppler reported that Spicer Cub "is fine" with no nicks or cuts from his adventure
"It was probably the wildest race I have ever called," said Dave Rodman, who has announced races at the major Maryland tracks since March 1991. "It beats the Afleet Alex incident in the 2005 Preakness (gr. I), and tops the guy running on the track (1999 Preakness day).
"All I could do was keep my eyes on (Perez) and Spicer Cub. I can't believe he went through that hole between the outer rail and the gate. It was really something else. I really thought he was going to win the race. Xavier did an amazing job. It was certainly a gutsy ride."