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Wise Dan undergoes emergency surgery for colic

If he recovers from colic surgery well enough, it looks like Wise Dan will be out six-to-eight weeks (Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com)

Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan had to undergo emergency colic surgery Friday morning, Claire Novak of the Blood-Horse reports.

The seven-year-old gelding, who was last seen defending his title in hard-fought fashion in the May 3 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, turned in his usual gallop at his Keeneland base on Friday. But shortly afterward, trainer Charlie LoPresti noticed that something was amiss.

"He had a routine gallop, trained great this morning, and about an hour after training he started acting like he was uncomfortable in the stall," LoPresti told the Blood-Horse. "We medicated him and he didn't respond."

Wise Dan was then transported to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington, Kentucky.

"Once we got him over to Rood & Riddle, they ultrasounded him and the vet saw a piece of small intestine he didn't like," LoPresti added.

Wise Dan accordingly went into surgery. As the operation progressed, LoPresti issued an upbeat bulletin, describing it as "the best case scenario for colic" because no resection of the intestine was necessary, and Wise Dan should be able to race again.

"If he recovers from it well, they're thinking six or eight weeks off at the most."

LoPresti called into HRTV early Friday afternoon, by which time Wise Dan was safely out of surgery and resting in a recovery stall.

The problem turned out to be a "piece of small intestine that had flipped over and was causing discomfort," the trainer revealed.

That was promptly corrected in what was a straightforward surgery.

"The blood supply was good, and everything looked good, and they sewed him back up," he said, adding that Wise Dan will remain at Rood and Riddle for the next three to four days.

Beyond that, LoPresti said that he would discuss with the veterinary surgeon, Dr. Scott Hopper, where Wise Dan should go to convalesce. Depending upon Hopper's guidance, the future Hall of Famer will either return to his barn at Keeneland, or head to LoPresti's Forest Lane Farm, his winter home near Lexington.

A six-time Eclipse Award winner, Wise Dan has been honored as champion older male and champion turf male for the past two seasons, ending both 2012 and 2013 with blistering victories in the Breeders' Cup Mile that also propelled him to consecutive Horse of the Year titles.

Morton Fink's homebred opened 2014 with a repeat win in the Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland. By gamely repelling Seek Again next time in the Woodford Reserve, he pushed his career bankroll to $6,802,920 from a 29-21-2-0 record, surpassing the legendary John Henry's record earnings for a North American-based gelding.

This story will be updated as further information becomes available.

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