News and STORIES

Independence Hall Likely Off Triple Crown Trail

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Monday April 06, 2020
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables, and R K V Racing's Independence Hall is likely off the Triple Crown trail. Finishing fifth in the March 28 Curlin Florida Derby (G1), he has now returned to his Maryland home. 

Taking a Short Break

According to Eclipse managing partner Aron Wellman, Independence Hall rejoined trainer Mike Trombetta's string at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. He will take a short break, which comes after a second straight loss after three consecutive wins. Two of those wins were in stake races at the opening of his career.

"He came out of the race very well," Wellman said. "We got him back up to Fair Hill, and we're just going to give him about 30 days to freshen up and probably focus our attention on one-turn races for the rest of the season."

Independence Hall's Career

In the Florida Derby, Independence Hall went 1 1/8 miles for the first time. He struggled early on in the field of nine, and he ended up finishing fifth, 10 1/2 lengths behind Tiz the Law. 

"He was a little quiet by his standards, pre-race and going to the gate," Wellman said. "He didn't come out of the gate sharp, which put him behind the eight-ball, and he had to muscle his way by a pack of horses and go four or five wide around the first turn just to get position. 

"It just never seemed like he was all that comfortable out there, and when the real running started, he really offered up no bid, unfortunately, and stayed one-paced to the wire."

In the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) Feb. 8 at Tampa Bay Downs, Independence Hall finished second as the favorite. In that race, he lost his tongue tie and a front shoe. 

The Constitution colt made his sophomore debut in the Jan. 1 Jerome Stakes, going one mile at Aqueduct Racetrack. He scored a four-length victory in that race.

Independence Hall took the one-mile Nashua Stakes (G3) qt Aqueduct as a 2-year-old, as well as a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Parx Racing in his career debut. All of his 2019 training took place at Fair Hill before going to Florida after the Jerome win. 

"There's just no margin for error in these grade 1 races, and things didn't go as smoothly as we would have hoped, but the takeaway internally for our team right now is that maybe it's best to focus on the big one-turn races for 3-year-olds for the remainder of the season and see if we can recapture his brilliance and explosiveness and really solidify his residual value as a stallion prospect," Wellman said.

Possible Races

There are a few possible races for Independence Hall in the near future. He could run in the Pat Day Mile Stakes (G2) in Kentucky, the Woody Stephens Stakes (G1) and H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) in New York, and the Malibu Stakes (G1) in California. The latter three run at seven furlongs. 

Independence Hall's future heavily depends on when live racing resumes in the country. Many races are being delayed or canceled, including the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), which has been rescheduled from May 2 to Sept. 5. 

"Obviously, none of us know what the schedule entails right now," Wellman said, "but there's a lot of important, prestigious one-turn races, and he's proven his brilliance around seven-eighths and a one-turn mile. 

"As much as we would all love to continue to pursue the Derby path, we have to do what's best for the horse and for our partners, and that seems to be the most prudent thing to do moving forward. If he earns his way back into two-turn races, great, but we're going to focus on recapturing his brilliance around one turn for now."