Delaware, OH --- Trainer Mark Steacy said Wednesday that Battle of the Brandywine winner Sunshine Beach would miss the Little Brown Jug because of a health issue.
|USTA/Mark Hall photo|
|Sunshine Beach has won five races and earned $494,885 in 2013.|
Sunshine Beach, ranked third in the current Road to the Little Brown Jug Top 10, has won five of 12 races and $494,885 for owners Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand. He handed Captaintreacherous his only loss this year with a world-record-equaling 1:47.4 mile in the Battle of the Brandywine on Aug. 17 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
He was eighth against older horses on Aug. 31 at Mohawk and second to Vegas Vacation in a division of the Simcoe Stakes last weekend at Mohawk.
The Little Brown Jug, the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, is Sept. 19 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio.
“We made the call last night,” Steacy said. “We thought hard about it because we really wanted to go. We just felt it was too much for him. I wouldn’t say he’s been sick, but his blood has been a little low the last week or two; I think he was just a little anemic for the last two races.
“I just don’t think I can get him healthy enough to race in the Jug and then Lexington and the Breeders Crown. I’d like to win the Little Brown Jug as much as anybody, but we have to put the horse before ourselves. Something had to give and I thought I’d take an extra week to make sure he’s real healthy for Lexington.”
Vegas Vacation, who won his Simcoe division in a stakes-record 1:48.3, is the No. 1-ranked horse in the Road to the Little Brown Jug ratings.
Sunshine Beach, who led the Simcoe from the start until yielding to Vegas Vacation in the stretch, has won six of 18 career races and earned $531,565.
“After he came back from Pocono, I think it did take just a touch out of him,” Steacy said. “That said, I thought he raced really good in the Simcoe. I think if we can get him back to 100 percent, like he was, he’s going to race that much better. You’ve got to be at your peak for sure.”