Boyd Martin told Phillip Dutton to make time on Trading Aces, and that’s exactly what happened, with Phillip and Oscar producing the only double clear across both divisions to win Advanced Test A at The Fork. Considering the horse has struggled with fitness in the past — running out of steam at Rolex and being nursed home at Boekelo — this has to be very encouraging news for Boyd and the horse’s owners. After Boekelo, Oscar had a thorough vetting, which found he wasn’t sweating properly. Now that the sweating issue has been resolved, he’s much improved, though the real test will be Kentucky later this month.
The next three finishers in Advanced Test A, Lillian Heard and Share Option, Lauren Kieffer and Veronica, and Michael Pollard and Mensa, had the exact same number of time penalties — 11.2 — to finish second, third and fourth, respectively. Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter rounded out the top five. In Advanced Test B, Sally Cousins and Tsunami clinched the win on a score of 40.1, followed by Allie Sacksen and Sparrow’s Nio on 45.7 and Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star in third place on 48.1. Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek and overnight leader Katie Frei and Houdini finished fourth and fifth on scores of 53.6 and 55.0.
The Advanced course caused problems throughout. Lauren Kieffer gave us quite a scare at fence 13 when RF Cosima hit the jump hard, and Lauren popped off to the side. I chatted with her later in the day, and both she and Big Mama are fine. Lauren said it best when she somberly noted that considering what transpired earlier in the day, she’s just relieved to have all her horses safe back in the barns tonight. While we originally thought Conair was just fine after a mishap at fence 17 in Advanced Test A that unseated Will Coleman, it was later confirmed that the horse passed away soon thereafter. Will broke his collarbone in the fall and is waiting to find out whether or not he will need surgery. Stay tuned for more from The Fork.