Flavien Prat had only one useful rein to guide Dr. Schivel for almost the entire six furlongs of the $200,500 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G2) Oct. 2 at Santa Anita Park—and they won anyway.
After Dr. Schivel broke from the rail and Vertical Threat from post 2 took about a three-quarter-length lead, Prat appeared to bobble slightly. As trainer Mark Glatt explained later, the right rein came out of its keeper.
Once that happened, Dr. Schivel decided that he needed the lead to do his job and win the race. He moved up inside of Vertical Threat and took the lead at the half-mile pole, surprising many onlookers, including co-owner Tim Cohen. In the past, when his jockey has had both reins, Dr. Schivel has come from off the pace to win, which had worked well for the past four consecutive races.
The 3-year-old Violence colt did what he’d been trained to do—go to the front—only in this case he decided when.
It didn’t matter. Dr. Schivel drew away from the field and won by 3 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:09.44 on the fast track. He paid $5.60 for a $2 win ticket.
He won so easily that it looked as if Prat was patting the colt on the right side of his head. In fact, Prat was trying to hold on to the right side of the bridle so that he could try to help guide his mount.
“I had just the left rein after we left the chute at around the 5 1/2-furlong mark,” said Prat. “It was kind of scary. This has never happened to me before. The horse was very proficient. Everything was normal otherwise.”
Glatt noted that they were lucky Dr. Schivel is “a good boy because if he had made any mistakes without any control…” The trainer then shook his head, recognizing how it could have gone so wrong.
“That’s why Flavien kind of let him just roll because the last thing he can do is grab him at all,” Glatt explained.
Flagstaff closed for second, a nose in front of C Z Rocket , the 2020 Sprint Championship winner.
Dr. Schivel was coming off a win in the July 3 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1), where he earned a Breeders’ Cup Challenge berth to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Saturday’s win was also worth a berth to the race.
His four-race win streak began when he broke his maiden at the 2020 Del Mar meeting and continued through the 2020 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) and an allowance/optional claiming race after a layoff and prior to the Bing Crosby.
William Branch, who co-owns Dr. Schivel with the Cohen family’s Red Baron’s Barn, Rancho Temescal and William Dean Reeves’ Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, bred Dr. Schivel in Kentucky in partnership with Arnold Hill. The colt was foaled and raised at bucolic Hidden Brook Farm in Paris Kentucky. Hidden Brook also consigned Dr. Schivel to the 2019 Keeneland January sale.
The Cohens bought a majority interest in the colt after his maiden victory. Luis Mendez trained Dr. Schivel at 2, with Glatt taking over this year. The colt is out of the Mining for Money mare Lil Nugget, whose last reported foal is the placed 2-year-old colt Barsini Red, by Midshipman . The mare was bred to Anthony’s Cross for 2022.
Now with a record of 5-1-1 from seven starts, Dr. Schivel has bankrolled $536,000.
If all goes well, the next stop for Dr. Schivel will be the Breeders’ Cup. While he earned his berth in the Bing Crosby, winning with only one rein in the Sprint Championship may have really told the tale of Dr. Schivel’s talent.
Or as Cohen quipped, “He’s going to be really good with two reins.”
-edited from www.bloodhorse.com