- The injury to Afleet Alex is relatively common and not considered serious.
A 35-minute surgery was performed by Patty Hogan, with a single screw inserted across the fracture at the bottom of the cannon bone.They’re talking about still making the Breeders Cup, but that does seem ambitious, even for Afleet Alex. Given the fact that this all comes just one year after Smarty Jones’ retirement due to an injury that he too was first projected to come back from, some will be skeptical of his return. Cash is King’s head partner Chuck Zacney, while maintaining that they got an “excellent prognosis,” acknowledged to the Inquirer that the injury "puts some pressure" to retire Afleet Alex to stud. Dick Jerardi in the Philly Daily News points out, however, that this situation differs from Smarty.
"It's a relatively common type of fracture in thoroughbred horses," Hogan said in a statement. "It occurs in the bottom of the cannon bone at the level of the fetlock [ankle] joint. His prognosis for returning to racing at his elite level is excellent without a doubt.
Afleet Alex yesterday returned to Belmont Park, where he will be given seven to 10 days of stall rest and then walked three times daily for an expected six weeks before resuming training. [Philly Inquirer]
Smarty's breeding rights already had been sold to Three Chimneys Farm and a syndicate it had formed. Thus, there was some real pressure to retire Smarty. It turned out Smarty's injuries would have not have allowed him to race again anyway.The immediate effect of the injury will be on the two main summer classics, the Haskell next Sunday and the Travers, both of which Alex was supposed to run in. This leaves Roman Ruler to head the Haskell field, which will likely bear no resemblance whatsoever to a Grade 1 race.
Alex certainly has attracted interest from several of the big Kentucky farms, but no deal has been made. Thus, there is not that pressure.
"This is the worst news I've had in a long time at the sports authority," [NJ Sports Authority chief Geoff] Zoffinger said. "Hopefully it will open the door for a lot of people shying away from the race because Afleet Alex was so strong. But this is our big day in what has been a very bad year in a declining business and I want to see it be a positive day. This makes it very hard to see the light but we're going to do what we can to attract other horses." [Newark Star-Ledger]The track will now try and persuade Bruce Headley to send Surf Cat for the race rather than face older horses in the Pacific Classic. Other names being mentioned will likely not draw the crowd of 50,000 they were expecting for Alex.
Park Avenue Ball, at least one Nick Zito horse, Chekhov and Papi Chullo are likely, but with Afleet Alex missing, some of the possible starters, Dover Dere, Devilment and Golden Man, are more likely. Joey P., who was third trying two turns for the first time on July 22, is another who may reconsider. [Asbury Park Press]