• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Commentary: Homeboykris – One race too many

HOMEBOYKRIS, shown prior to his win in the Champagne Stakes in 2009, won the first race on the card at Pimlico on Satuday, May 21. The 9-year-old Thoroughbred tragically died of an apparent heart attack walking back to the barn. (Photo by Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)

Who’s to say when a Thoroughbred is too old to run? On Saturday, May 21, while everyone was anticipating the big stakes races at Pimlico Racecourse, which included the Preakness Stakes (G1), in the first race of the day, a sweet, 9-year-old Thoroughbred named Homeboykris, with jockey Horacio Karamanos riding, did what he always did in a race. He gave everything he had as he ran around the track. For every Hall of Fame Thoroughbred like John Henry, who raced until he was 9-years old and won Horse of the Year and Champion Turf honors that same year, or Ben’s Cat, a 10-year-old who won the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes at Pimlico for the fifth time in his career on Friday, May 20, there are too many horses like Homeboykris who maybe race too long. In his race at Pimlico on Saturday, he rallied from mid-pack, swung three-wide into the stretch, took the lead near the eighth-pole and went on to get the win by half-a-length. The crowd cheered. His connections cheered. Homeboykris paraded proudly to the winner’s circle where he had his photo taken. It was the bay gelding’s 14th win in 63 career starts. He also had 10 seconds and five thirds on his resume. Then, tragedy. While walking back to the barn, Homeboykris, who’s biggest win came in 2009 – seven years ago – at Belmont Park in the Champagne Stakes (G1), collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack. His career, and his life, over. Homeboykris was one of those hard-knocking Thoroughbreds who ran his heart out in every single race for his owners. During his career he was claimed eight times and won money for all eight owners. In total, he won $567,389. Yet, even as he got older, each owner still raced him when maybe they shouldn’t have. According to a tweet by Homeboykris’ trainer Francis Campitelli’s son Chris, “Homeboykris hasn’t taken a bad step since we’ve had him. Owner claimed him to assure he went to a good home after race career. Freak accident.” Sadly, while it might have been a freak accident, Homeboykris will never get to go to that good home and enjoy a nice retirement.

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