Associates at New York-based Mosaic Racing Stable agreed long ago that if the horses who ran for them were not well taken care of, they would have no part of the racing business.
“The agreement,” explained managing partner Monica Driver in a March interview with OffTrackThoroughbreds.com, “is that the horse will always come first. We will make sure we take care of our horses.”
Horses are cross-trained in second disciplines and hacked on trail rides to keep them happy, in preparation for their next-careers, after their racing days end.
And at the slightest hint of an injury, as was the case recently with their rising star Circuitous, the horse is taken off his race-training schedule, and given lots of TLC and carrots.
In Clubhouse Q&A, Driver updates us on Circuitous, who was about to start racing at Belmont Park, when a slight tendon tear was discovered.
Q: Circuitous was in the middle of training at Belmont when Mosaic Racing announced he had an injury. Could you please describe where his small tendon tear is, and when it was discovered?
Circuitous had a small (about 15-20%) tear in his right superficial digital flexor tendon.
Q: I understand his legs were cool. So, how was the injury detected?
The lesion was found by a precautionary ultrasound. There was some visual filling, but he was dead sound, his leg was ice cold and it did not hurt on palpation. Our trainer, Jimmy Jerkens, was right on top of it, as he knows we want to be ultra careful. The timing was terrible, because Circuitous was on top of his first race.
Race name: Circuitous
Dam: Watt Ever
Foal date: April 4, 2009Q: What is the course of action being taken for his recuperation and recovery?
He immediately shipped to the farm where he grew up and received
PRP treatment to the tear. This is a treatment in which his own blood is extracted, and then spun down until it consists of Platelet Rich Plasma, which is then introduced into the lesion with a needle guided by ultrasound. This can be done in the stall with a local anesthetic. Click here to watch the procedure being done to a Standardbred on YouTube.
He started hand-walking the day after the procedure to encourage the healing cells to orient themselves vertically to give the tendon tensile strength. The point of the procedure is to heal with the correct cells rather than with scar tissue.
Q: Is there a prognosis for when he could start race training again?
He will be re-scanned in 45 days to see the extent of healing. If there is any further evidence of a problem, he will receive stem cell therapy. It was not thought he needed this initially as the lesion was not large and we hope the PRP will do the trick.
He will hand walk for 30 days, round pen for 30 days and then paddock for another 30 days. He should be out of real training for four to six months. We will then start back slowly. He should regain fitness faster than a horse who had never been fit. It is hard to tell when he will be ready to race. We will not rush him at all.
He is a very big boy, at 17-hands, and the time off at age 3 will not be the end of the world for him.
He will just be stronger when he returns. He is also such a kind and smart horse that he is a good patient. It’s as though he says, “You want me to do what? Oh, okay, I get it; let me try it.”
It is VERY hard on his human contingent, on the other hand. We were so excited to be almost ready to race.