Spicer Cub, the 4-year-old gelding best known for his dramatic stretch run in a maiden claiming race at Pimlico Race Course earlier this year, broke his maiden in a one-mile special weight at Delaware Park on July 1.
Rider Xavier Perez, who was aboard for Spicer Cub's harrowing Pimlico race, piloted the gelding in his first career win, which was a step up in class for the horse.
Video of Spicer Cub's Pimlico run, in which he swerved suddenly at the top of the final turn while rounding the turn and ran around the parked starting gates by the outside rail, went viral. The replay has generated over 124,000 views on YouTube. The horse's dogged drive after swinging around the starting gate prompted announcer Dave Rodman to shout “Do you believe in miracles?!” as he narrowly missed the victory.
In his first career win on July 1, Perez and Spicer Cub sat mid-pack on the sloppy Delaware dirt track before swinging wide on the turn and by 3 ¾ lengths going away by the wire.
“One thing I was sort of shocked by is that X-Man [Perez] went wide,” Eppler said. “I definitely would've stayed on the rail if I'd been on him.”
The trainer reported that owner David Butts moved the gelding up in class after his stretch performance to avoid losing him in a claim.
“[The owners] were afraid that there might be some kook out there that would claim him just because of the notoriety,” said Eppler. “I certainly wouldn't even consider claiming a horse like that, but I don't know. There might be somebody out there that would want him.”
The gelding was named in honor of Butts' father-in-law, who died shortly before the horse's birth, and is a sentimental member of Butts' stable. Eppler said last week that his owners anticipated retraining Spicer Cub as a sport horse if he didn't succeed at the track.
Eppler admits that she is a little more nervous when Spicer Cub takes to the track than she is for her other runners. So far though, he hasn't tried to duck out again during workouts or races after his infamous Pimlico debacle.
Around the barn, Eppler reports that Spicer Cub is calm and social with a playful side.
“He's a really cool horse,” she said. “But if you leave anything close to him, you turn your back and it's gone and it's chewed up. He's always getting into stuff. He's already chewed two halters up, so now if we take it off we have to put it across the shedrow from him.”
Eppler said she isn't sure yet what's next on the agenda for Spicer Cub, but his maiden special weight win makes him eligible for a $7,000 starter allowance.
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