Vet says Chelokee's injury not broken leg

Bramlage revises diagnosis, defends Barbaro comparison

May 04, 2008|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun reporter

Louisville, Ky. -- Dr. Larry Bramlage, the on-call veterinarian at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby weekend, revised his initial diagnosis on the Michael Matz-trained Chelokee yesterday. The horse, injured when he took a misstep in a Grade III race here on a sloppy track, did not break his leg.

"There was a lot of swelling immediately after the injury," Bramlage said. "When you see an injury like that, you immediately think there is a fracture. But in this case, it was not a fracture but a dislocation."

Chelokee will be watched this week and is expected to have surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital to fuse his fetlock in an effort to restablilize his leg. Bramlage said the horse's racing career is over, but with luck he could be in the breeding shed as soon as next spring.

Bramlage said he did not regret his first statement, which was based on the report from the ambulance doctor, in which he said the injury was "amazingly very similar to what Barbaro had, only in another leg."

Barbaro suffered a catastrophic fracture to his left leg in the 2006 Preakness and eventually was euthanized because of complications from laminitis.

"I don't regret mentioning the similarity to Barbaro," Bramlage said, "because it is similar. When the horse was stopped on the racetrack, his leg was flapping out to the side, like Barbaro, and being held together by his skin, like Barbaro. There was a lot of swelling which masked the actual injury, which was a dislocation and not the fracture Barbaro had. His sesamoid bone was pulled five centimeters out of place."

Chelokee had a good night. Matz said the horse laid down to rest a couple of times through the night, and Bramlage said they put an orange traffic cone in his stall to give him something to play with.

"He was playing with the lines to his IV and actually pulled them out of the bag once, so we had to give him something else to distract him," the vet said.

Headed to Laurel

Bsharpsonata left for Laurel Park yesterday morning. Trainer Tim Salzman said the Grade II Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 16 is not under consideration.

"We're going to sit back and look for a couple of spots," Salzman said.

Joneses all wet

One minute he was winning the Kentucky Oaks and eyeing Kentucky Derby history, and the next he was waking up in a hotel room with a soaking floor.

Such was the morning after for Larry Jones, the trainer of Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell and Derby filly entry Eight Belles.

No trainer has won the Oaks and the Derby in the same year since 1952, and no one has done it with two fillies. But if Jones was on edge about that possibility, it didn't show.

He spent Friday night having a modest dinner at Cracker Barrel. His wife, Cindy, said he was asleep by 10:15 p.m., not even making it to the sports portion of a local newscast.

While Proud Spell had little trouble over the sloppy track at Churchill Downs during the Oaks, the Joneses weren't quite so fortunate. When they woke up yesterday, the floor of their hotel room was soaked. The rain somehow made it through a closed window.

"You'd think for $500 a night we could get a dry floor," Cindy Jones said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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