Delaware Park says goodbye to Hard Spun

By JACK IRELAND, The News Journal

Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Tears were flowing as owner Rick Porter, trainer Larry Jones, jockey Mario Pino, barn staff and friends said goodbye to Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup Classic runnerup Hard Spun at Delaware Park this morning.

Hard Spun’s two year racing career officially ended after his exciting second place finish to Curlin in the $5 million Breeders Cup Classic on Saturday at Monmouth Park (N.J.). Jones confirmed that Hard Spun would be shipped from Delaware Park by van this afternoon to begin his breeding career at Darley Farms in Lexington, Ky.

Porter announced last June that once Hard Spun finished racing this year the sale to Darley and Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s Darley Fan for breeding rights only, would take place.

Porter tried unsuccessfully to get an extension in the contract so Hard Spun could race again in 2008 as a 4-year-old.

A crowd of about 25 gathered outside the Jones barn for a 90 minute Hard Spun celebration before today’s live card began. Jones and groom Corey York brought Hard Spun out of his stall for about 20 minutes for those who wanted to take photos and feed the 3-year-old son of Danzig sweet potatoe cuts and peppermints.

Jones, who was also his main exercise rider, became quite emotional as he addressed the Porter family, his staff and friends at the sendoff party. Hard Spun won seven of 13 career starts with three seconds, a third and two fourth place finishes. He broke his maiden at DelPark in the fall of 2006.

“First of all I want to thank God for sending me such a magical horse,” said Jones, as he fought back tears. “I tell you one thing, ask any of the people with the horses who tried to run with him early in a race what they think of Hard Spun. He’d kill you Whoever hooked up with him early finished last or close to it. Look what happened to ALawyer Ron, a very good horse, in the Classic. I’ve been around a lot of horses in my lifetime, but nothing close to one like Hard Spun. I want to thank Mr. Porter for giving my wife and I a chance to work with a great horse like this.

“Thanks to Mario (Pino) who did as good a job riding him as anyone could have asked,” said Jones. “I want to thank Corey (York), his groom. He worked very hard with the horse and Hard Spun made him into a Grade I groom. To my buddy Hard Spun I would say ‘go forth, be fruitful and multiply.’”

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