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Saturday, December 8
Raging Fever impresses in return

JAMAICA, N.Y. -- Raging Fever made a triumphant return to the races Saturday at Aqueduct, roaring out of the gate under Aaron Gryder and leading every jump to win the $82,775 Garland of Roses Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths.

Dat You Miz Blue, who was made the 4-5 favorite with the scratch of Xtra Heat, chased Raging Fever around the track and finished second, four lengths ahead of Look of the Lynx. Carafe, Tina Dynamite, Golightly, and Elektraline completed the order of finish.

Raging Fever, a multiple Grade 1 winning 2-year-old, was making her first start since April 22 when she finished third behind Xtra Heat in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland. She came out of that race with a fractured growth plate in a stifle and was shelved for the summer.

The way Raging Fever trained leading up to Saturday's race had instilled tremendous confidence in trainer Mark Hennig.

"I told [owner Edward] Evans this morning that she hadn't trained this well since Saratoga last year," Hennig said.

Raging Fever won the Grade 2 Adirondack by 9 1/4 lengths last summer at Saratoga. She followed that with victories in the Matron and Frizette, both Grade 1 events at Belmont in the fall.

Hennig said the strategy to go the lead wasn't so much a byproduct of the absence of Xtra Heat as it was Raging Fever's preferred style.

"I told Aaron if she leaves there like she can, she could beat the gate," Hennig said.

Raging Fever ($7.60) was quick out of the gate and opened up a one-length lead after a quarter-mile in 23.44 seconds. She was never seriously challenged in covering six furlongs in 1:10.38 over a fast track.

Hennig said that Raging Fever would ship to Florida on Monday where she could make her next start in the $100,000 First Lady Handicap at Gulfstream on Jan. 18.

Arroyo escapes serious injury
Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. appeared to escape serious injury despite being part of a scary-looking spill in Saturday's opener. After being evaluated at Jamaica Hospital - where X-rays showed no breaks or fractures - Arroyo planned to get a second opinion at North Shore Hospital late Saturday afternoon.

Arroyo feared he may have cracked a couple of ribs after he was hurled to the ground when his mount, Pete Shure, appeared to clip heels with Fast Modem in upper stretch of the first race. Cryptoe Tap, ridden by Lorenzo Lezcano, fell over Pete Shure. Lezcano rode the next two races, but took off his final two mounts after complaining of exhaustion.

Neither horse was injured.

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Norberto Arroyo Jr. injured in spill at Aqueduct

Xtra Heat out of Garland of Roses