Usually the health concerns that Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol share involve the stress on their own bodies. But this time, it involved the horse they co-own.
Siempre Mio was scratched from his scheduled race Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park because he had what Santa Anita chief executive Mark Verge described as a "minor cough" after going through a morning jog.
Trainer Doug O'Neill, whose colt I'll Have Another won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, has a strict policy, according to Verge, that he won't race any of his horses if they cough at all the day of a race, no matter the severity. Gasol had planned to watch his horse run, but Verge said he was alerted about Siempre Mio's absence from the race.
"It's a lot of pressure when you have Kobe and Gasol as your partners. Everyone understood we've got to listen the trainer, especially since we have a trainer who had a brain," Verge said, jokingly. "He's about to win a Triple Crown so we have to show some respect to Doug O'Neill."