McCann's Mojave won the spill-marred Potrero Grande.

McCann's Mojave won the spill-marred Potrero Grande.


Spill Mars McCann's Mojave's Potrero Grande Upset

Sunday's $200,000 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), won by McCann's Mojave, ended tragically when Casas Caballo broke down on the far turn at Santa Anita and was euthanized.

A second horse, Watchem Smokey, who was trailing the five-horse field, plowed into the fallen horse and threw jockey Victor Espinoza. Both horse and rider were okay afterward, according to preliminary reports, although Espinoza complained of soreness in his left shoulder.

Jockey Martin Pedroza, who rode Casas Caballo, was taken by ambulance to the Arcadia Methodist Hospital for x-rays of his left shoulder, collarbone and ribs. His mount suffered a condylar fracture of his left front cannon bone, according to Dr. B. William Bell, D.V.M representing the California Horse Racing Board.

The incident occurred nearing the quarter-pole.

McCann's Mojave, ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr. at 114 pounds, ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15 3/5 and paid $15.80, $6 and $2.60. Eighty-one-year-old Leonard Dorfman is the trainer for Mike Willman of Glendora and Nikki Hunt of Riverside.

A California-bred colt by Memo, McCann's Mojave has won five of six starts with earnings of $236,460. The Potrero Grande was his first stakes win in open company. He won the Sensational Star against state breds on turf in February.

Unfurl the Flag, who tied Spectacular Bid's 24-year-old track record for seven furlongs in his previous start, finished second and returned $3.80 and $2.40. Tyler Baze rode the runner-up at 114 pounds.

It was 1 ¾-lengths back to Bluesthestandard, the 4-5 betting favorite ridden by Mike Smith at 118 pounds, and a $2.20 show payoff.

"This horse had to run hard the whole way and he had him ready to run," Valdivia said of Dorfman. "I was on the lead (when the spill occurred) and I heard hollering but I didn't see anything. My horse got in front and he's game, he'll put any horse away."

It was the second straight poor performance for Bluesthestandard, last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) runner-up who was seventh in the San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita March 7.

"I don't know what it is, he just doesn't seem to want to go on," jockey Mike Smith said.

Casas Caballo was racing just behind the top three midway on the turn when the Kentucky-bred 4-year-old son of Boston Harbor broke down, unseating Pedroza. Mike Mitchell trained Casas Caballo, a winner of three seven lifetime starts and $93,800 for owner Michael House.

(Chart, Equibase)