Flipped Out
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Source: Flipped Out

Flipped Out


Written by Joe Clancy   

September 04, 2009

Your horse flips in the paddock and gets scratched – hits his head, wrenches his neck, scares himself. What do you do?

If you’re Jonathan Sheppard and the horse is Terpsichorean, who was scratched from a jump race here July 30, you give the veterinarian a leg up.

“He was fairly stiff and sore and of course you can’t see into a horse’s head, but we think he may have had a bit of a concussion,” Sheppard said. “When we started back riding him, he seemed like he was holding his neck a little rigid and we talked to Stowe Burke about it.”

Going above and beyond the veterinarian code, Burke rode Terpsichorean around the jogging ring at the Oklahoma Annex. The doctor diagnosed some swelling, prescribed DMSO via IV and Butazolidin. A few days later, Terpsichorean was much better.

Five weeks after his paddock accident, Terpsichorean was very much better – withstanding a challenge from favorite Dynaski to win Thursday’s $70,000 Paul Fout Handicap by a neck. Terpsichorean (Danielle Hodsdon) stalked pacemaker Tax Ruling through a mild first mile, grabbed the lead leaving the backside, cut the final corner in front and denied Dynaski (Peter Buchanan) and Arcadius (Chip Miller) in deep stretch. The 5-year-old son of Honor Glide covered the 2 1/16 miles in 3:57.90 while winning for the second time in eight career jump starts.

Hodsdon credited her horse’s ability to stay relaxed early in the race for the strong stretch run.

“He relaxed for me and let me take him back off Tax Ruling – he waited for me,” she said. “Around the turn, I knew Dynaski was coming and I knew he had more turn of foot than I did and that I would just have to keep picking it up. I wanted to make him chase me.”

Sent off at just short of 4-5, Dynaski reached the 10-1 Terpsichorean’s shoulder but got no closer. Trained on the flat by Barclay Tagg, the John Sullivan homebred switched to steeplechasing last June and won his second start at the 2008 Open House. Sheppard did not get tempted by Saratoga last year, and ran the horse twice in the fall. This year, Terpsichorean progressed through three starts – a third and two seconds – and figured to be a major player in the first jump race of the meet.

“The horse has run at the track so he must know how to be in a paddock,” Sheppard said. “Maybe something startled him that day, I’m not sure. For this race, we paddock-schooled him twice and we tacked him in the stall both times.”

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