At Pimlico on Sunday morning, Robert B. Lewis (G3) winner Royal Mo was in the midst of his five-furlong workout for the Preakness (G1) when he sustained a sesamoid fracture in his right front. First reported by the Blood-Horse‘s Jeremy Balan on the scene, the injury is career-ending.
Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens, who was aboard for the drill in company, promptly pulled up the 17-hand colt after he heard a terrible pop turning into the stretch.
“He was going better than he was (in his workout) before the Santa Anita Derby (G1),” Stevens told the Preakness notes team. “I was getting goosebumps down my neck. As we were rounding into the stretch, I was thinking how much I was going to let him gallop out. Thankfully, when he went, I had a hold of him. He looked out for me and I looked out for him. He pulled himself up.”
Stevens emphasized that the Pimlico surface was not a factor in Royal Mo’s misfortune.
“He was loving the racetrack. He was getting over it nice. I wanted to make sure that everyone knew that the track was perfect. It’s just one of those deals.”
Royal Mo was vanned off the track and back to the stakes barn, where X-rays indicated a fracture to the inside sesamoid bone in his right foreleg.
“There isn’t any other damage, so that’s a very good thing for him,” trainer John Shirreffs said.
Arrangements were made to transport Royal Mo to New Bolton Center near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. According to further reporting by Daily Racing Form‘s Jay Privman, Shirreffs’ initial belief is that surgery may not be necessary, so far.
[Update: surgery was in fact performed Monday, Balan reports. Shirreffs said that the procedure was described as “successful,” with the usual cautions about avoiding such complications as infection or laminitis.]
Campaigned by Jerry and Ann Moss, the Uncle Mo colt was most recently a close third in the Santa Anita Derby. He was the first also-eligible at number 21 on the list for the Kentucky Derby (G1), but didn’t draw in to the field and aimed for Saturday’s Preakness.
“It’s very difficult,” Shirreffs said. “Our hopes and dreams were with Royal Mo. Mr. and Mrs. Moss and my wife, Dottie, were excited to see him run. We’re all obviously devastated.”