Brinley Enterprises' Trigger Warning had to survive not only a thrilling stretch duel with Bobby's Wicked One, but also a subsequent objection before being declared the official winner in today's $250,000 Steel Valley Sprint – the marquee race of the Mahoning Valley meet. Shortly after the wire, however, Trigger Warning was pulled up and had to be vanned off the track. Trainer Mike Rone said the colt suffered a condylar fracture in his left front leg, and the pair are currently en-route to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. for surgery.
Sent off as the 4.30-to-1 third choice in the balanced field, the Candy Ride showed speed following a cutback in distance from his past five outings and was put on the lead early by jockey Irwin Rosendo. After cutting out an opening half mile in 45.78 seconds over the sloppy going, Bobby's Wicked One joined the winner around the turn underneath Tyler Gaffalione and battled Trigger Warning tooth and nail through the final three-sixteenths before falling a nose short on the wire in a final time of 1:10.56.
After the pair exchanged bumps in the final furlong, Gaffalione claimed foul alleging interference in the stretch. But upon reviewing the replay, the stewards ruled there would be no change to the order of finish.
“The contact was mutual and no blame could be placed solely on either rider,” said State Steward Darrel Parker.
The top duo finished four lengths clear of the rallying third place finisher, and 2018 Woody Stephens (G2) winner, Still Having Fun who checked in a quarter-length in front of Wyatt's Town who had been sent off as the lukewarm 3.10-to-1 favorite.
Trigger Warning had most recently finished seventh in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. He banked $142,500 for his victory in the Steel Valley Sprint which brings his career earnings to north of $500,000.
The card's supporting stakes event – the Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Distaff – went to S.D. Brilie Ltd., Partnership's Puntsville, who bested a field of eight other fillies and mares to claim the winner's share of the $75,000 purse. Trained by Michele Boyce, the gray mare took the lead from longshot Seeknthegiantpearl on the turn and was able to hold off a late rally by the favored Lake Ponchatrain to notch her second stakes triumph of 2018.
The $1,451,344 wagered on this year's Steel Valley Sprint card eclipsed last year's all-sources handle by more than 14 percent.
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