Sweet Catomine, will now be trained by John Shirreffs.

Sweet Catomine, will now be trained by John Shirreffs.

Benoit photo

Sweet Catomine, Other Wygod Horses Sent to Trainer Shirreffs

By Ron Mitchell and
Margaret Ransom

In continuing fallout from the weekend loss by champion Sweet Catomine in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), four or five horses previously trained by Julio Canani for owners Marty and Pam Wygod are being transferred to trainer John Shirreffs.

Shirreffs, who has other horses for the Wygods, described it as a "tough situation."

Removal of Sweet Catomine from Canani's barn follows the initiation of an investigation by the California Horse Racing Board into events last week leading up to the Derby, in which Sweet Catomine finished fifth as the odds-on favorite in the race won by longshot Buzzards Bay.

Following Saturday's race, Wygod said he had considered scratching Sweet Catomine from the race because of some minor health issues she had leading up to the race.

The filly was sent to Alamo Pintado, the Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos near Santa Barbara, for treatment and brought back to Santa Anita before Wednesday's Santa Anita Derby post position draw. When she returned, Sweet Catomine developed a minor foot problem. She also went into season.

When asked about how Sweet Catomine was progressing while participating in an NTRA conference call Tuesday, Canani said the filly "is doing great, she is running super...I expect her to run well on Saturday."

According to a statement from the CHRB, its review will include interviews with Sweet Catomine's veterinarians as well as the track's official veterinarian who conducted the required examination the morning prior to the race.