Reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan underwent emergency colic surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital to repair a part of the small intestine that flipped, trainer Charlie LoPresti said Friday.
LoPresti said Wise Dan had a routine gallop at Keeneland Friday morning but that discomfort was detected in the 7-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry about an hour after the fact, with him becoming particularly agitated while standing on the barn’s vibration plate. LoPresti said they tried lunging Wise Dan and jogging him out of it but his level of pain did not subside.
Dr. Scott Hopper performed the surgery where it was discovered a piece of the bowel had flipped. LoPresti termed that diagnosis “the best case scenario for colic” and said that Wise Dan was expected to be sidelined for 6 to 8 weeks with a return to racing a very strong possibility after that.
“When he came in I said ‘I don’t care if he races again as long as you save his life’,” LoPresti said. “Basically it’s the best case scenario for colic nothing had to be resected for colic. No scenario about colic is good I’ll know a little bit more but long and short of it is if he recovers from it 6 or 8 weeks off at the most.
“As long as he gets up and he doesn’t try to colic again we’re in good shape.”
LoPresti said that if surgery had not been performed, blood loss could have been more serious.
“He had a piece of small bowel that just looped over it was getting inflamed if he didn’t go in there get it and straighten it out we could have been a bad scenario,” LoPresti said. “Vets at the track treated him for colic he didn’t have any gut sounds when they listened to it.
“Our van picked him up and he was in (Rood & Riddle) within a matter of an hour after the colic.”
Wise Dan could be sent home in about 3 to 5 days where he will likely recover at LoPresti’s Keeneland barn rather than on his trainer’s Lexington-based farm.
“That’s where he’s used to his normal environment,” LoPresti said.
The chestnut two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner was out of recovery in good order by late Friday afternoon and LoPresti said as long he made it through the night with no complications, they would begin giving him food by Saturday.
“When I left him he was banging around on his hay net,” he said. “They put a muzzle on him and he was kind of poking around trying to get to the straw. Everybody I talked to said as long as it’s not reoccurring colic, it shouldn’t be career ending.”
A six-time Eclipse Award winner, Wise Dan most recently captured the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic by a nose at Churchill Downs on May 3 after opening his 2014 campaign with a victory in the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in April.
Morton Fink’s homebred has won 21 of 29 career starts, including ten Grade I triumphs, and amassed career earnings of $6,802,920 to date.