Arch Kingsley immediately said the only word that came to mind when he almost parted ways with Bill Fossett’s You The Man early in the Jonathan Kiser Stakes.
“Stirrup. Stirrup. Stirrup. Stirrup. Stirrup. Stirrup. Stirrup.”
Kingsley pegged it right. The retired (kind of) jockey got back in the saddle and remarkably stayed in it en route to a victory over Left Unsaid (Peter Buchanan) and El Viaje (Xavier Aizpuru) in the $70,000 Kiser for novice hurdlers at 2 1/16 miles.
Mabou headed straight to the front early in the Kiser and opened 20 lengths while It’s My Choice and You The Man tracked the runaway leader, ahead of well-backed runners Left Unsaid, El Viaje, Dugan and Jellyberry. As Mabou continued to roll along on the lead things got interesting when Kingsley lost his balance after the 4-year-old jumped the fourth fence. Kingsley danced on the edge for a few strides but somehow righted himself and continued after Mabou.
“There’s only one thing to do when that happens and so I just tried to hold on,” he said. “I was able to get back on and he found himself again and took care of me all the way around. I put him wrong at all kinds of fences but he just kept finding his way back into the race after I tried to mess it up.”
Mabou led the field to the final turn but began to tire badly as You The Man, Tricky Me, Dugan and Jellyberry drafted into contention. You The Man struck the front coming out of the final turn and Kingsley went to work as Left Unsaid and El Viaje rallied into contention. Left Unsaid made a last charge at the final fence but You The Man jumped it well and took off upon landing to clearly to score by 1 3/4 lengths, with El Viaje third.
“I saw him last night for the first time. I had never even got on him before but he’s just a natural jumper and a very gifted horse,” Kingsley said. “All I knew was what was in front of me and besides me and I knew I had a ton of horse and that they were going to have to run pretty hard to get by me.”