Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Air travel for thoroughbred horses has become quite routine. Load the horse onto the plane at one location to arrive unharmed at another location.
However, that's not what happened earlier this week for trainer Doug O'Neill's Bond Holder. The 3-year-old colt had a less than perfect flight from California to Louisiana for Saturday's Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds.
"He Fed Exed to New Orleans and had a rough flight to say the least," explained Dennis O'Neill, brother of the trainer. "The horse got banged up. He cut himself and we just decided not to run him. He wasn't right."
Owned by Reddam Racing, Bond Holder was one of the early favorites for the Risen Star at 6-1. The colt had drawn post 5 for the 1 1/16-mile stakes. The Risen Star had 16 horses entered in the race which will start a maximum of 14. The colt was the 122 pound highweight for Saturday's race.
"He'll be home Sunday and we'll sit down and re-evaluate. Hopefully, we'll breeze him the following week and run (in the San Felipe March 8) if all goes well," Dennis O'Neill said.
Bond Holder won Santa Anita's FrontRunner Stakes last September with fourth- place finishes in both the CashCall Futurity and Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The colt has earned $366,000 in his seven career starts, all with Mario Gutierrez in the saddle.