I’ll Have Another was retired from racing June 8, the day before he had a shot at the Triple Crown title in the Belmont Stakes due to a condition called superficial flexor tendonitis.
"It is an occupational hazard," said Larry Bramlage, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, the on-call veterinarian for the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and an orthopedic surgeon at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington.
Bramlage described it as a low-percentage injury but something that trainers monitor for regularly. He compared it to an ankle sprain in people.
"It is still a relatively minor injury," said Bramlage, who did not examine the horse himself but did consult with trainer Doug O’Neill’s veterinarian Dr. Jim Hunt. "This is a slow-healing injury; he could take a year to fully recover. Because he is a stallion prospect, that could hurt his value. If he was a gelding, he would have likely made a come-back."
O’Neill said during a 1 p.m. press conference that he noticed "some loss of definition" in I’ll Have Another’s left front leg on Thursday, June 7. The leg was treated and because the swelling disappeared, O’Neill decided to proceed with an easy gallop early in the morning. The Flower Alley colt had been regularly working or galloping at 8:30 a.m. when most of the other Belmont contenders went out. Because of the crowded conditions in the stakes barn, O’Neill said he decided to go out around 5:30 a.m. Friday and avoid the congestion.
After the gallop, he said he noticed the swelling had returned to the leg. O’Neill contacted Hunt who did