A winner’s circle photo without the winner is never easy. Such was the scenario for owner Jimmy Riccio, trainer Jeremiah Englehart and jockey Jose Ortiz after Sandy’z Slew won Sunday’s Grade 3 Troy Handicap.
Ortiz felt something amiss as he and the 8-year-old began to make their way back to the winner’s circle after the Troy. Ortiz dismounted, Englehart took a ride to the backstretch to attend to his horse and Riccio stood still as a statue.
Monday morning the three men and others associated with Sandy’z Slew were able to feel a little better.
Sandy’z Slew stood in his stall in the Oklahoma Annex, clearly tired but clearly comfortable. It took a minute for the mood to strike, but he eventually came to greet the humans in front of his stall with his ears up and enjoyed the pats he received.
“I’m happy for him that he’s OK. He’s walking around,” Englehart said. “We are going to scan his suspensory (today) and just see the extent of the injury. If we have to find him a home, Jose Ortiz has already talked about taking him down to his farm in Ocala. He’s the barn pet right now. He’s getting all the loving and attention he needs.”
After opening up 2 1/2 lengths at the top of the stretch, Sandy’z Slew won the Troy by three quarters of a length. He switched leads mid-stretch and was getting tired in the final sixteenth over the soft going.
“I thought something was wrong at the end because he switched leads and his 3-length turned to a half-length lead in the matter of seconds,” Englehart said. “So, it kind of gave me the impression that something might have been wrong. I haven’t ruled out racing, but we’ll know tomorrow.”