Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom will not have surgery

Animal Kingdom at Churchill Downs

Dr. Dean Richardson confirmed Animal Kingdom’s recent injury as a stress fracture and says he is expected to heal with 30 days of stall rest and 60 days of hand walking. A nuclear scan has pinpointed the start of a stress fracture in Animal Kingdom’s hind end that will not require surgery.

Dr. Dean Richardson of the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center is the veterinary surgeon who performed the hock operation on Animal Kingdom last year after the Belmont Stakes. Richardson said “If anything was going to happen to this horse, this would be about as good a result as one could hope for.”

“ The horse will stay in his stall for a month and be grazed every day, after which time he’ll be transferred to Team Valor’s barn at Fair Hill Training Center, where for the next couple of months he will have limited activity,” Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin said. “Then he will return to full training. Team Valor’s interest is to run the horse for another year. We will make a decision about whether we want to do that by September, so that if the horse is going to be retired, he’ll have plenty of chance to be promoted by the start of breeding season. [Trainer] Graham Motion and I think we should have a good enough idea by September of whether or not he is the same horse in his training. If he is, we prefer to run him another year and target the [2013] Dubai World Cup.”

The Kentucky Derby winner underwent a scan on Tuesday at the Palm Beach Equine Medical Center, where the beginning of a stress fracture of the ilium was detected, unrelated to his hock fracture from last summer in the left hind leg.

“If not, we will then begin talking with farms at home and abroad. We have received interest from multiple parties in Japan and the United States, as well as a serious breeder in England, but we have told all of them that we would not talk about it until the fall,” continued Barry Irwin.

2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom was injured in the Belmont Stakes. He spent the balance of the year recovering. He won an allowance race in sharp fashion over Gulfstream Park’s turf on February 18. He developed lameness after working five grassy furlongs on Saturday, which prompted his connections to withdraw him from the Dubai World Cup on March 31. We hope he will come back refreshed and feeling better in 90 days.

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