By Alan Carasso
The sensationally fast New York Thunder (Nyquist) was well on his way to a fifth victory from as many starts in Saturday's GI H. Allen Jerkens S. at Saratoga, but fell when well clear at the sixteenth pole and suffered a life-ending injury in scenes eerily reminiscent of those three weeks ago when Maple Leaf Mel (Cross Traffic) catastrophically broke down just before the wire of the GI Test S. One in Vermillion (Army Mule) found his best stride in the stretch and inherited the victory at odds of 19-1.
The second-longest shot on the board, One in Vermillion was content to drop out to the back of the field as New York Thunder, so impressive in running his winning streak to four in the GII Amsterdam S. July 29, took pace pressure to his outside from GI Woody Stephens S. hero and 'TDN Rising Star' Arabian Lion (Justify) through wicked fractions of :22.29 and :44.40 over a track that had been drying out from earlier showers, but had been sealed after another bit of rainfall a short time prior to the Jerkens. New York Thunder proved best in the pace battle and began to open up on his five rivals, carrying an unassailable advantage into the final furlong. But tragedy struck soon after, as New York Thunder fell and ultimately could not be saved. Verifying (Justify) outfinished Arabian Lion for the most minor of minor awards.
“Per NYRA Sr Examining Vet, New York Thunder sustained a catastrophic injury to his left front in the stretch run of the @TheNYRA #Saratoga 9th & was humanely euthanized on track,” NYRA's Keith McCalmont tweeted. “Jockey Tyler Gaffalione is up and walked to the ambulance. He will visit first aid.”
McCalmont later added that Gaffalione, who had no other mounts on the card, was uninjured.
A two-time stakes winner at Turf Paradise last winter, One in Vermillion won the May 6 Laz Barrera S. at Santa Anita while still under the care of Eric Kruljac, then won a Canterbury allowance and was runner-up in the grassy Canterbury Derby June 21 in his first two starts for the Esteban Martinez barn. Disqualified after dead-heating for the win in the Iowa Derby July 8, the chestnut led past the eighth pole in the Aug. 6 GIII West Virginia Derby before yielding late to finish third to Red Route One (Gun Runner).
“I feel really bad about the rider [Tyler Gaffalione] and the horse [New York Thunder],” Martinez said. I thought this horse could run well in here. He tries hard all the time. He came from the back and he did great.”
Added jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.: “It's sad. He [New York Thunder] was already a winner I think, to be honest. Unfortunately, that happened. I asked about the rider, they say he's OK, so I'm glad Tyler is okay. He's a friend of mine. It's not the way you want it to happen.”
One in Vermillion is the first Grade I winner and second graded winner overall for Army Mule. Dam Given Star was purchased by Richard Barton Enterprises for $4,500 with the Jerkens winner in utero at the 2019 Keeneland November Sale and One in Vermillion changed hands for $26,000 at the 2021 Arizona Fall Mixed Sale. One in Vermillion is out of a half-sister to MSW King Henny (Henny Hughes) and MSP Honey Pants (Cairo Prince), who is also responsible for the Cal-bred 2-year-old filly Raspberry Wine (Cat Burglar).
H. ALLEN JERKENS MEMORIAL S.-GI, $485,000, Saratoga, 8-26, 3yo, 7f, 1:22.63, my.
1–ONE IN VERMILLION, 118, c, 3, by Army Mule
1st Dam: Given Star, by Any Given Saturday
2nd Dam: Queens Carousel, by Afternoon Deelites
3rd Dam: Irving's Girl, by Badger Land
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I WIN. ($26,000 Ylg '21 ARZNOV). O-Jonathan Kalman; B-Richard Barton Enterprises (CA); T-Esteban Martinez; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr.. $275,000. Lifetime Record: 12-6-3-1, $653,840. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Verifying, 120, c, 3, Justify–Diva Delite, by Repent. ($775,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Jonathan Poulin, Derrick Smith and Michael B. Tabor; B-Hunter Valley & Mountmellick Farm, LLC (KY); T-Brad H. Cox. $100,000.
3–Arabian Lion, 124, c, 3, Justify–Unbound, by Distorted Humor. 'TDN Rising Star'. ($600,000 2yo '22 OBSAPR). O-Zedan Racing Stables, Inc.; B-Bonne Chance Farm LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $60,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, 1HF, 12. Odds: 19.70, 4.80, 1.90.
Also Ran: Fort Bragg, Drew's Gold, New York Thunder.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.
Per NYRA Sr Examining Vet, New York Thunder sustained a catastrophic injury to his left front in the stretch run of the @TheNYRA #Saratoga 9th & was humanely euthanized on track. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione is up and walked to the ambulance. He will visit first aid.
— Keith-TripleDeadHeat (@TripleDeadHeat) August 26, 2023