For those perusing the Charles Town entries for Friday, your eyes do not deceive you: entrants Mr. Ping and Mr. Pong, both listed as 2015 offspring of Denis of Cork out of Washingtonian are indeed brothers. In fact, they're twins.
Bred and owned by John B. Casey, the pair of chestnuts were born April 16, 2015, at Avonwood Farm in West Virginia.
“We faced the high odds of them both surviving, both making it to the races (long odds), and running against each other (never happens)!” said Casey, who won the 2008 West Virginia Lottery Breeders' Classic with Fool Proof.
Experts estimate less than 1 percent of twin pregnancies are carried to term with live foals because the equine uterus is not designed to handle two fetuses at a time. Some mares (particularly Thoroughbreds) release more than one egg at a time anyway, and therefore conception of twins is fairly common. About 30 percent of Thoroughbred breedings are believed to result in the conception of twins, but most will not survive. Veterinarians will often offer to terminate one of the pregnancies early on if twins are detected to increase the odds that one of the foals will survive.
Mr. Ping and Mr. Pong are trained by Larry F. Curtis and are making their first start in the four and a half furlong contest over the dirt. Luis Rodriguez will ride Mr. Ping, who carries 117 pounds from post one, while Guillermo Rodriguez will be aboard Mr. Pong at 122 pounds.
“I can't take sides but Mr. Ping should break well carrying 117 pounds and hold his own early against the 8/5 favorite Addi's Guy,” said Casey. “Mr. Pong will break slower carrying 122 pounds and he is a closer but may need a longer race to catch Addi's Guy and his brother and fit his pedigree! They are both very green and this is all new to them and I have no idea why they are not both at odds of 10-1. Larry Curtis has done a phenomenal training job getting them to the races. We hope for the racing gods to be on board for this history making race!”
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