Bob Baffert’s three-year-old standout Abel Tasman was able to steer clear of tragedy during her morning workout. The filly was just behind drilling partner Vegas Vic, who happened to break down while working on Santa Anita’s track.
Of obvious concern was the time of the incident, which happened at 6:30am when the sun was still down. “It happened so quick, we didn’t have a chance to worry about it,” said Baffert. “I heard the siren , but it was so dark that I didn’t see where it was. That could have been bad.”
The work for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff contender was promising despite the unfortunate incident. Vegas Vic had thrown his rider, Jose Dominguez, clear from the saddle when he took a bad step and collapsed right in front of Abel Tasman. Doninguez was sent to hospital but Vegas Vic had to be euthanized.
Jockey Mike Smith was aboard Abel Tasman and recounted what happened. “She went great,” Smith said of Abel Tasman’s work. “Vegas Vic was pulling up, was almost stopped. I guarantee he wasn’t going faster than a hobby horse, but kinda stumbled and stepped wrong,” Smith said. Of the training Smith continued that Abel Tasman, “finished so nice. I didn’t get to gallop out like I wanted to, because the outriders stopped me.”
Over seven furlongs, the filly clocked 1:23 4/5ths and seems to be on track. It was a very unfortunate end for Vegas Vic, so that can’t be overlooked, but Abel Tasman is the prize commodity in this situation and that perspective has to be maintained.
Abel Tasman is one of the top choices in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup Distaff, where she’ll contend with the heavily favoured Stellar Wind for the ultimate title amongst fillies and mares. Thankfully, she avoided serious injury. Also in contention at Del Mar in two weekends will be the hard charging Vale Dori, Forever Unbridled and Champagne Room.