If you can’t beat ’em, bite ’em. Or so seems to have been the philosophy of Thoroughbred racehorse Firenze Fire as he thundered down the home stretch at Saratoga Race Course in the $600,000 Forego Stakes last weekend.
The horse took exception to rival ‒ and ultimate winner ‒ Yaupon as they galloped neck-and- neck in the final stretch. The race video shows Firenze taking a few bites out of Yaupon’s face and yanking on his bridle, with the equine’s aggressive tactics going viral and Twitter going mad, with some calling the horse “Mike Tyson.”
Watch the moment here:
Yeah…that happened. The bite heard around the world! We could watch this over and over.
Firenze Fire vs. Yaupon #Savage pic.twitter.com/lJZUSRXslw
— NYRA (?) (@TheNYRA) August 29, 2021
The technical racing term for it – yes, there is one – is “savaging.” And, according to reports, during a race in 2018, Firenze Fire was on the receiving end of this rudeness himself. Perhaps having been bullied he decided to try his own hand, or teeth, at bullying, although according to his trainer Kelly Breen the six-year-old had never behaved like this before.
Yaupon never broke stride, but his jockey, Ricardo Santana Jr., seemed shaken, telling a news outlet, “That’s never happened to me before. It was scary, but I thought, ‘just keep riding.’” To their credit, both jockeys kept it together to avoid a more serious incident.
Had the horse’s scare tactic worked and he’d won, there is little doubt that Firenze Fire (who has career earnings to date of over $2.6 million) would have been disqualified for his bad behaviour.