Classic Empire ‘Sharp As Can Be’ In First Training Exercise Since Holy Bull

by | 02.13.2017 | 7:11pm
Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) wins The Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland
Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) wins The Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland

Juvenile champion Classic Empire underwent his first training exercise on Monday following a disappointing third-place effort in the Holy Bull, according to the Daily Racing Form. The 3-year-old son of Pioneerof The Nile was found to have an abscess festering in his right front foot shortly after the Feb. 4 race at Gulfstream Park, the colt's 2017 debut, in which he was beaten 8 3/4 lengths by Irish War Cry.

“I've always called it a ‘gravel,' ” said trainer Mark Casse, using another term for hoof abscess. “It's not what you'd call a quarter crack. It runs horizontally and doesn't go up to the coronet band. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was about a 9; there was quite a bit of pus that came out. A lot of times, these things will fester forever and linger on, but his busted open right away. Obviously, we're hoping we got lucky with it and can move forward. Race-wise, if we determine that he's completely sound and ready to go, we'd have a lot of options, from the Fountain of Youth, the Tampa Bay Derby, and beyond.”

Typically, once the infection from a hoof abscess has been allowed to drain, the horse will heal very quickly. That said, Casse will refrain from making a final decision on Classic Empire's next start “until after we see how he reacts to this foot. Norm (Casse's son and assistant trainer) said the horse was as sharp as can be this morning. That was really good news.”

In other news, Casse has another possible Derby candidate in his barn. Classic Empire's owner John Oxley and owner Gary Barber have purchased a majority interest in Lookin for Eight, a maiden winner at Gulfstream on the Jan. 28 Pegasus World Cup undercard. That colt, a son of Lookin at Lucky out of a Mineshaft mare, could be pointing to either the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct or the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream; both races are on March 4.

  • J

    Classic Empire Laid an Egg in the Holy Bull.
    Maybe he just doesn’t like Gulfstream?
    I think he is a 2 year old Flash.

    • larry outlaw

      I think so to, it was a big egg.

    • Jbumi

      CE may have been an “early peaker”, but I think it’s too early to say for sure. I don’t think you can judge off just one bad race – anybody can have a bad day (health-wise, I have tons of them). The horse can’t speak up & tell you he’s not there that day – then they found the abscess after. I’d wait & see before completely discounting him.

      • Mr. Blues

        Jbumi, I was at Gulf Stream the day Chrome and Arrogate were to have this great rematch.What I saw in Chrome when he was coming from the barn was so off you knew something was up with him. First let me say when all the horse’s were walking off the course to prepare for the race .Chrome walked right pass me ,I could have touched him ,that close.he stopped crossed his front legs leand back with a very lethargic look and his eyes were looking right through you.It was spooky looking! Then he straighten right up and went back to get ready.He came out fine ,but when he didn’t go right in the gate that was sign number 2….My point is that these horse’s are giving signs that something isn’t right. Someone on each and every team must start paying attention, to give these wonderful horse’s that risk there health and well being for our entertainment. We could actually get longer life on the track for racing !… and see horse’s run in there 5,6 possible 7 year !

        • Jbumi

          Excellent points! I completely agree!

          Lucky you being at GP on Pegasus Day! It’ll be one to remember. I still vividly remember my one & only trip to a racetrack – Saratoga on Travers Day 1978 (Affirmed & Alydar). Like you, as they walked onto the track I could’ve reached out & touched them. Also remember some guy screaming after Affirmed was taken down that it cost him a $10,000 wager. Astounding to me because I think I made about $3500/year at work back then!

        • thephantom

          from the trainers side, even tough you know that might be something going on with your horse. i think you have to be SURE that he is not going to perform well. its not an easy call to scratch a horse for acting a little weird (not having a good eye, pulling back on his way to the gate, sweating more than usual,etc) sometimes this horses look like a million bucks until the race day and suddenly they change. We also have to consider that we are talking about horses everybody is expecting to see, especially his owners who made the whole trip, came with their families.etc. In each barn, especially the big ones, there is always somebody paying attention to this details. don’t think they didn’t notice too.

          • Mr. Blues

            Thank you for your reply and it is a ve

  • Lou1sville

    They wouldn’t have run him if they had any idea about that abscess. Throw that race out.

    • Elle D

      Yes. He also has a little attitude, kind of a bad boy.

      • Lou1sville

        You’re right. He and Mccraken are two tough sonofaguns!!

  • Shahrokh Saidi

    Why the owners started looking for another horse . Why did they buy a maiden winner for casse to train .
    It sounds like they are not sure if he is the horse he was at 2

    • Lou1sville

      I feel he is. It’s just very difficult to get a colt to the Derby – always has been.

  • Sampan

    He doesn’t have the same attributes as he had as a 2 year old.
    Plus I don’t think he will handle 9 fur and up so he is off my Ky Derby contender list.
    He is a wonder horse now, you wonder if he wants to run or not.

  • OklaHandicapper

    Let’s see what happens when Classic Empire runs in a 1-1/8 mi prep.

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