Fallen Leaf throwing away victory in the final strides
By Tony McFadden 2:34PM 23 AUG 2016
‘NEVER work with animals or children’. One suspects that commentator Pete Aiello wishes he had taken heed of W C Fields’s famous advice following an eventful two-year-old race at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
What seemed to be a run-of-the-mill juvenile contest last Saturday turned in an instant as clear leader Fallen Leaf ducked sharply left and attempted to jump the rail, dumping her rider Matthew Rispoli to the ground a few strides from the line.
It is not known why Fallen Leaf decided to veer dramatically with victory in sight. However, believers in the power of the commentator’s curse will have a theory.
“Fallen Leaf is sharp in victory. No antics of any kind, except speed,” said a clearly impressed Aiello as the filly powered towards the winning line.
However, a mere second after Aiello had declared “no antics of any kind” Fallen Leaf smashed through the rail, leaving the despondent commentator to add: “And there’s the antics.”
She’s got previous
As Aiello’s call suggests, Fallen Leaf had displayed some wayward tendencies in the past. In a race at Gulfstream towards the end of July, Fallen Leaf looked to hold every chance before swerving markedly to her left and ducked in behind a rival, narrowly avoiding clipping heels.
The commentator’s observation that the filly was “running green” now appears rather charitable in light of her subsequent behaviour.
Commentators and punters alike will surely be more wary of Fallen Leaf and her ‘antics’ from now on.