Spirit To Win - 2015-08-01 - Meadowlands

Tragic Accident Claims Life of Sprit To Win

August 4, 2015

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Just five days before she was slated to race in the Hambletonian Oaks, where she likely would have been the favorite, Sprit To Win died after a freakish accident yesterday at a training center in New Jersey.

Trainer Dustin Jones, who was in Canada at the time, explained that the filly got loose from her handlers while they were attempting to get the equipment on her for her morning training session. She made it to the track at Mark Lancaster’s training headquarters and tripped over the loose jog cart. Jones said when she went down there was blood coming out of her nostrils and she did not get up. Jones believes the filly ruptured an artery, perhaps in her lungs.

“Who knows what caused that,” Jones said. “It’s just one of those things. It’s just a freak thing, like somebody having an aneurysm. She didn’t have a scratch on her.”

Jones’ son Tyler was supervising her training at the time. He came out of the incident physically unscathed, but Dustin Jones said his son was reeling from the event. The elder Jones also made it clear that in no way was his son to blame.

“My son just got scratched up a little bit,” Jones said. “Emotionally, he’s petty shook up. So is the Lancaster family. They were pretty pumped up for this race.”

Jones said there’s nothing he can do now but move on.

“It didn’t really sink in for about three hours,” he said. “I was sort of numb. Then after that I felt sick to my stomach. In this business there are so many things that knock you down. People just get back up. The horsemen are so tough, they get back up and keep going.”

A homebred racing for Fred Hertrich III, Sprit To Win had a coming out party when defeating Mission Brief by a nose at 48-1 in the Del Miller. Proving that race was no fluke, she came right back to win an elimination for the Hambletonian Oaks. She is the only horse to have beaten Mission Brief in a race where that filly did not break stride.

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