Spicer Cub (outside) took the scenic route to the finish line in one of the strangest races in memory. (Photo courtesy of Jim McCuue/Maryland Jockey Club)
“Do you believe in miracles?” That’s what Pimlico track announcer Dave Rodman asked during the stretch run of the 11th race on April 13.
The miracle that he and the crowd on hand were witnessing has since become a viral hit on YouTube.
Spicer Cub, a 4-year old gelding, bolted from the pack on the far turn. Nothing unusual there - horses are known to bolt, or run away and ignore a handler’s or jockey’s instructions, during races from time to time. Sometimes they are motivated out of fear of danger; or sometimes something they see or smell or otherwise sense alerts them. Sometimes they bolt out of a desire to run the race their own way. A horse can bolt and run faster when a jockey tells it to slow down or will dart for the outside when a jockey asks it to run toward the rail. Whatever his reason, Spicer Cub took off away from the pack early in the April 13 race.
Jockey Xavier “X-Man” Perez regained control of Spicer Cub on the backstretch and was able to retake the lead by the end of the backstretch. Around the turn, however, Spicer Cub decided to bolt AGAIN. This is where things got weird.
“It was wild, he didn’t give me any warning,” Perez told Brisnet.
Perez lost his irons, the metal loops on a horse’s saddle that the jockey keeps his boots in. This made it even harder to control . The horse darted sharply toward the grandstand, directly towards the parked starting gate.
SPICER CUB'S ADVENTUROUS RACE
Video Courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club
“My life went before my eyes for a few seconds,” Perez said.
Perez was able to navigate the horse, who was running flat out, into the space between the starting gate and the grandstand. Amazingly, the horse and rider materialize on the other side unscathed. At that point, Perez goes to the whip. Spicer Cub is still charging despite being all the way on the outside rail, several lengths outside of the pack. Perez decides to go for it and asks the horse to run.
I won’t spoil the ending for you. You should watch the video. In the last week it has been viewed more than 100,000 times.
How many of those views ware Perez watching the replay of his crazy ride?
“I have watched the replay many times with my fiancé and I still cannot believe what happened,” he told Brisnet. “I am grateful to be here.”