Root Boy underwent successful surgery late Saturday night after breaking both sesamoids in his right foreleg during the running of the Maryland Million Classic. The horse is expected to survive the catastrophic injury.
"He is in critical but stable condition. The doctors said we will know more in the next five to 10 days," the horse's owner, Richie Blue of Brooklandville, said yesterday. "The surgery went really well, but the big fear is infection. There is no infection now, but if something sets in, that could complicate his recovery."
The horse was operated on at the equine hospital at the New Bolton Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Kennett Square, Pa.
"We are lucky New Bolton is so close," Blue said. "The accident happened about 6 p.m. The horse arrived there by 10 p.m. and was operated on about midnight. Bob Manfuso and Katy Voss [Chanceland Farm] made their van available at Laurel after the accident that evening, and their farm manager [Bill Reightler] drove the horse there himself. Normally, this kind of severe injury might not be operable, but the doctors said there was still enough stabilization in the area and that he was worth operating on."
The breakdown occurred during the early part of Saturday's race. Jockey Edgar Prado said he heard "a pop" near the five-eighths pole and tried to pull the horse up after he realized the leg was broken. The animal lurched sideways and was run into from behind by Kent Desormeaux on the favored Reputed Testamony.
Both horses and riders went down, but all except Root Boy escaped serious injury.
The 5-year-old horse, trained by Louis Bernier Jr., won 12 of 32 starts and earned $384,142. If he survives the injury, Blue plans to stand Root Boy at stud in Maryland.
"It was like a bad dream," Blue said. "But these things happen, and you have to deal with them. We just hope he pulls out of it. Our phone has been ringing off the hook and so many people stopped by the barn yesterday at Pimlico to say how sorry they
are it happened. We appreciate their concern."