After watching Lather Up’s first loss of the season in Saturday’s Max Hempt Memorial, George Teague Jr. is hopeful his team can get the 3-year-old male pacer back to the form that saw him begin the year with seven consecutive wins, including the North America Cup.
Lather Up, the 1-9 favorite in the $500,000 Hempt, went off stride on the final turn as he tried to pass leader Dorsoduro Hanover following a first-over march from fourth place. It was the first time Lather Up ever made a break in a race. The Hempt was eventually won by Springsteen.
Teague, who leads a training stable that includes Lather Up’s conditioner Clyde Francis, said the colt scoped sick following the Hempt and also presented driver Montrell Teague with steering issues because of a mouth sore. Teague also was testing to see if Lather Up suffered from muscle cramping.
"It was a combination of things, a perfect storm to have a bad night," Teague said Monday morning. "He got a little bit of an ulcer in his mouth on the right line again. That’s a little bit of an issue, but I don’t think it’s permanent. I think he’ll be fine. We have a little bit of time now to work on him and get him cleared up (from being sick)."
Teague was uncertain when Lather Up would make his next start, but ruled out the upcoming Meadowlands Pace, which would have required a supplemental payment to make the horse eligible to start because he had not been staked to the event.
"Physically, he’s fine," Teague said, adding with a laugh, "It was small things; small things that can add up to (losing) a lot of money. That’s horseracing. I can’t change what happened. We’ll just try to fix it and get him back on course. On to the next one."
Lather Up, a son of I’m Gorgeous out of Pocket Comb, has won 11 of 15 career races and earned $544,765 for owners Gary and Barbara Iles, who also bred the colt. He was ranked No. 2 behind trotter Hannelore Hanover in last week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll; this week’s poll will be released Tuesday.--By Ken Weingartner/USTA