Hairline fracture ends Derby hope for Chip's Dancer Full recovery expected for undefeated 3-year-old

April 13, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

The Kentucky Derby dreams of owner Chip Reed and trainer Jerry Ferris evaporated yesterday when their Triple Crown nominee, Chip's Dancer, fractured his right foreleg in a workout at Laurel Race Course.

The condylar, hairline fracture extends from the horse's ankle to his cannon-bone, but is not life-threatening.

Chip's Dancer is undefeated in five starts this year and has won four stakes, including the Deputed Testamony Stakes at Pimlico by 13 lengths on April 3. He was probably the lone hope of Maryland's racing and breeding industry to have a starter in the Derby.

Veterinarian Brian Delp stabilized the horse's leg by applying a cast-like bandage. In a couple of days the horse will be operated on at a clinic in Pennsylvania by Dr. Jimmy Stewart, who will insert metal pins in the leg. After that, Chip's Dancer will go to Reed's Baltimore County farm for three months of stall rest. He may be able to resume training in the fall.

Delp said that there seemed to be no separation of the horse's bone and that the 3-year-old gelding has a good prognosis to return to racing.

The injury showed up after the horse, with exercise rider Ramon Rodriquez aboard, worked 5 furlongs in 1 minute, 2 seconds for an anticipated start Saturday in the $500,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Race Course in New York.

"This is hard to swallow," Ferris said. "We were going up there to win, and deep-down, I really thought we had a shot to do it."

If he had won the Wood, Reed and Ferris intended to start the horse in the May 1 Kentucky Derby. "If it had to happen, I'm glad it occurred when it did," Ferris said. "If it happened in a race, he is the kind of horse that would have kept on going and snapped his leg off.

"I think he will be able to return. Joe Hirsch [Daily Racing Form columnist] told me that Conquistador Cielo had the same kind of fracture early in his career and came back to win the Belmont Stakes."

During the workout yesterday, Chip's Dancer ran smoothly and was well in hand. "Imagine what [time] he would have gone in if he was asked to run," clocker Kevin Geraghty said.

But when the horse was leaving the track, Ferris, and his assistant, Jan Grey, noticed he was slightly limping.

"Jerry said to me, 'Is he a little off?' " Grey said. "She replied, 'Maybe.'

"Then we saw him come up the horse path, and we both knew. Ramon's face seemed to drop 10 feet."

By the time the horse was untacked, he was lame. He was immediately put into his stall and the leg placed in an ice tub.

H

Delp was immediately summoned. He took X-rays and within

20 minutes showed Ferris the results.

In a procedure that was completed within 45 minutes of the injury, the horse was treated for pain, X-rayed, diagnosed, bandaged in the cast and made comfortable in his stall.

Reed, who had turned down reported offers of nearly $1 million for Chip's Dancer, was crestfallen, but stoic.

"Now people will be saying I should have sold him," Reed said. "But I don't feel that way at all. If this horse never earns another penny, he will not owe me anything. It was a great ride as long as it lasted. It was great for all of us.

"I have been racing and breeding horses for 17 years and feel so lucky to have come up with him. I have his 2-year-old half sister [by I Am The Game] and his dam [Phabulous Pheet] who is being bred this spring to Carnivalay.

"I think he is the best of the Maryland 3-year-olds this year and will still be the best by the time the year is over."

Reed predicted: "We will be back."

Albert fined $1,000

The Pimlico stewards have fined trainer Linda Albert $1,000 for selling a horse, Earth To Mary, she did not wholly own.

Albert had the horse on a 50-50 deal with owner Robert Chernov of Wakefield, R.I. But when it looked like Earth To Mary would not be a successful runner, Albert sold the filly, without Chernov's knowledge, to a horse dealer. She was not licensed as Chernov's authorized agent. Chernov said the horse eventually ended up at a slaughter house.

In their ruling, the stewards said they considered Albert's action "a serious violation. There has been harm caused since the horse cannot be returned to its owner."

But the stewards noted that Albert had no previous violations. She was fined rather than suspended.

Miscellaneous

Fighting Notion posted a four-length victory yesterday in the Fire Plug Stakes at Pimlico. But the horse was not walking soundly after he left the winner's circle and is suspected of having a foot injury. . . . Mark Johnston might be riding Sentimentaldiamond on Saturday in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. Trainer Donald Barr is considering running the filly in the $250,000 Grade I event. Sentimentaldiamond has won the Jersey Belle and Bourbonette Stakes in her last two starts. . . . Dale Capuano won three races yesterday and then placed second in the Fire Plug Stakes with One Tuff Oop.

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