By Ben Massam
Phoenix Thoroughbred III’s Mourinho (Super Saver) suffered a severe injury in a Monday morning workout at Santa Anita and was subsequently euthanized, trainer Bob Baffert confirmed to the TDN via text message Monday afternoon. As originally reported by Daily Racing Form, Mourinho suffered a sesamoid fracture in a front leg while working in company with another Baffert-trained 3-year-old, Restoring Hope (Giant’s Causeway).
“It’s very sad,” said Baffert, who traveled to Ocala Sunday ahead of the OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday.
Mourinho captured his six-furlong debut at Santa Anita Sept. 30, a performance which earned him ‘TDN Rising Stardom,’ and followed with a pair of runner-up efforts in the Oct. 15 Speakeasy S. and Nov. 11 GIII Bob Hope S. He made his two-turn debut in Oaklawn’s Jan. 15 Smarty Jones S. with a wire-to-wire 3 1/4-length romp and returned to that venue to finish fourth in the Feb. 19 GIII Southwest S.
A $30,000 Keeneland September yearling, Mourinho was acquired by Phoenix Thoroughbred for $625,000 at last year’s OBS March Sale.
On a brighter note, Baffert said that undefeated ‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy), who captured a Santa Anita allowance in dominant fashion Sunday to catapult himself to individual favoritism in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, was doing “very well” as of Monday morning. While the colt has yet to earn any qualifying points for Run for the Roses, he is expected to make his next start in a prep race in April.