By Jim Freer
Cash Back won Saturday’s $75,000 Melody of Colors Stakes, a Gulfstream Park race marred by an injury to Kandoo that required her to be euthanized.
Cash Back (photo on home page) remained unbeaten in three starts as she defeated More Royalty by 1 ¾ lengths in the five-furlong turf race for 3-year-old fillies. She was the 3-5 favorite in the eight-horse field.
Kandoo, owned by Bell Racing, was the 7-2 second betting choice. But her promising career and her life met sudden tragic ends in a scary spill shortly after the tightly bunched field entered the straightaway in Saturday’s race.
In the collisions Joel Rosario, the rider of Kandoo, was tossed to the ground. Rafael Hernandez, riding Brandy’s Girl, and Edgard Zayas, aboard Hi Holiday, also fell from their mounts.
Rosario and Hernandez were taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood for observation. It is anticipated that an update will be available later this morning.
Zayas was administered to on the track and was not hospitalized.
The incident began when Brandy’s Girl bumped leader More Royalty from behind.
Brandy’s Girl dropped to the turf, tossing Hernandez.
Kandoo was right behind Brandy’s Girl. She fell on that horse, throwing Rosario.
My Dear Venezuela could not avoid stepping on the two fallen horses. The replay showed her kicking Kandoo in the head area.
My Dear Venezuela stayed on her feet. But jockey Luis Saez eased her and did not finish the race
Hi Holiday swerved to the inside to get around the fallen horses, throwing Zayas to the turf.
Hi Holiday finished the race riderless and was later walked off the track. Only four horses finished the race with their riders.
Brandy’s Girl was able to get to her feet and was vanned off. Details of any injuries to her were not readily available.
Kandoo was euthanized under a tent on the track shortly after the end of the race. Details on her injuries were not available.
Cash Back was in third place and near the inside coming around the turn and was thus away from the collision.
She took the lead about 100 yards from the finish and won in 58.92 seconds on the course listed as firm.
With More Royalty leading, the horses set a fast pace of 22.71 seconds for the first quarter mile. They were forced to slow following the collision.
Jose Lezcano rode Cash Back for trainer Brad Cox, who shipped her in from Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
“I saw the horse next to me went straight down and I said, ‘Oh, man,’” Lezcano said. “I had to keep riding my horse. She is a very nice filly. I think every race she improves more and more.”
Cash Back earned $45,000 for victory to double her bankroll to $90,000 from three lifetime starts.
The horses that finished the race behind More Royalty were Dad’s Kiddo and Blushing Humor.
The Melody of Colors was Cash Back’s first race at Gulfstream and first in a stakes.
She won her first two races, both at 5 ½ furlongs on turf at Fair Grounds.
Cash Back is a homebred of the stable of Bert Klein, Emily Klein and Richard Klein. She is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Congrats.
Kandoo, trained by Ralph Nicks, came into the race with two wins, two second place finishes and one third place finish in six career starts—with total earnings of $92,360.
Kandoo was a Florida-bred daughter of Kantharos. Bell Racing bought her for $85,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March 2015 sale.