The lightly raced Pesci, whose part owner and namesake Joe Pesci is an Academy Award-winning actor, was hit by a rock or a clod of dirt during the Ocala Breeders' Sales Distaff Saturday at Gulfstream Park.According to trainer Wesley Ward, the 4-year-old filly's right eye was infected, swollen and clouded over when she returned from the race. Ward says that explains her disappointing ninth-place finish."The vets are treating it aggressively with antibiotics and she's got a patch over it," said Ward. "Watching the race we were in amazement because she stopped so suddenly, but then we got to her and it was pretty clear her eye was the reason for it. You can't race if you can't see."
Ward said Pesci is in danger of losing her eye, but veterinarians were working hard to save it. Her owner's star-studded entourage included guitarist-turned-actor Stevie Van Zandt and television moguls Merv Griffen and Roger King. According to Ward, Mr. Pesci and his friends were disappointed but realistic about the filly's first loss in her third career start."I always say people show their true character in defeat," said Ward. "Joe understands that this is how racing is. He's been around it his whole life and he knows there's 11 other horses in there trying to win the race too. We were kind of bewildered yesterday, but now that we know about her eye it explains things."