For the Reporter
O B Harbor, 2016 Emerald Downs Horse of the Meeting, died suddenly Tuesday from a twisted intestine, owner Jody Peetz said.
The 4-year-old Oregon-bred was resting at his off-season home near Yakima when stricken by colic, and Peetz said a necropsy revealed a twisted intestine.
Trained by Chris Stenslie, O B Harbor enjoyed a remarkable 2016 season at Emerald Downs, reeling off four spectacular victories including triumphs in the Governor’s Stakes, Budweiser Stakes and Mt. Rainier Stakes.
A powerful front-runner ridden by Jose Zunino, O B Harbor ran meet fastest times at 5½ furlongs, 6½ furlongs and 1 1/16 miles. Moreover, his 1:00.97 clocking in a 5½-furlong allowance victory was only one-tenth of a second shy of Hollywood Harbor’s world record, and his stakes record 1:13.59 in the Governor’s included extraordinary fractions of :21.58, :42.67 and 1:06.98.
“He had all the talent in the world and tons of heart,” Peetz said of O B Harbor. “He was the complete package and we loved him. It’s a terrible loss.”
The 6-to-5 betting favorite in the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3), O B Harbor suffered his only loss of the season while finishing third to Point Piper and Cyrus Alexander, but not before rocketing thru some of the fastest fractions in race history – :22.66, :44.70, 1:08.76 – and helping set the stage for Point Piper’s track and state record 1:32.90 clocking.
A dark bay or brown gelding by Harbor the Gold-Flying Memo, O B Harbor compiled a lifetime record of 6-1-3 in 12 starts with earnings of $163,191. In 2016, O B Harbor was 4-0-1 in five starts and led the meet in earnings with $124,050. In addition to Horse of the Meeting, O B Harbor was voted Top Sprinter and Top Handicap Horse.