A bad trip to Gotham

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As Mike Trombetta put it, “I could have started walking to the car and gone home before he’d gone an eighth of a mile.”

The trainer took Fair Hill-based Ore Pass to Aqueduct for Saturday’s Gotham. The $400,000 race was a step up in class and company for the 3-year-old son of War Pass, but horses with classic thoughts are supposed to get tested at some point. Ore Pass flunked, though it wasn’t really his fault. Give him an incomplete, not an F.  The California-bred broke from post four, got bumped early, established what looked to be a decent position, then got sawed off as the pack blasted in from the outside in the sprint to the first turn. Ore Pass was the meat in a six-horse sandwich, stumbled, bounced to his left, lost his action, climbed for several strides and went from stalking to nearly trailing – eighth of 11 by the turn. He drifted out around the turn, wound up last of all after a half-mile, made a little progress around the far turn and finished last – beaten 12 lengths by powerhouse winner Vyjack.

Not exactly what Trombetta, owners Tom and Harry Meyerhoff and jockey Julian Pimentel had in mind for the Frank Whiteley Stakes winner.

“Three jumps out of the gate, he went into survival mode and Julian said he was lucky to stay on,” said Trombetta. “Those kind of races, everything’s got to go right anyway so that pretty much did it for his chances. It’s not like there was anything anybody could do – just wrong place, wrong time.”

As the Equibase chart caller put it (you’re going to need a drink of water after reading):

ORE PASS bumped with TRANSPARENT leaving the gate, got caught in and amongst
and right in the thick of the bumping incident that occurred shortly after the field was sent
on its way, was taken hold of after being bumped again, went for a couple of jumps then
clipped the heels of ESCAPEFROMREALITY, raced at or near the back of the pack thereafter,
swung five wide into the stretch, had no rally.

Like everyone else, Trombetta was impressed with Vyjack and is under no illusions that Ore Pass could have run with the Gotham winner on that day. Vyjack scored by 2 ¼ lengths to leap up the 3-year-old ladder. But the trainer would have liked to see what his horse could do. Now, it’s Plan B. Ore Pass goes back to the track at Fair Hill Wednesday and will get a chance to train up to another race.

“He’s doing OK, but the first priority is to make sure he’s well, then try to figure out what’s next,” said Trombetta. “It’s a complicated process. You wouldn’t want to go back up there off that race. The winner impressed me, he was the only one doing any real running at the end.”

For more on Ore Pass, see last week’s feature

For the Gotham video, see NYRA website