Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan was taken to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington May 16 for emergency colic surgery, according to trainer Charlie LoPresti.
The six-time Eclipse Award winner began to show signs of colic after a routine gallop at Keeneland the morning of May 16, and was transported to Rood & Riddle shortly therafter. Dr. Scott Hopper performed the surgery, LoPresti said.
"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," the trainer explained. "We medicated him and he didn't respond. Once we got him over to Rood & Riddle, they ultrasounded him and the vet saw a piece of small intestine he didn't like."
The 7-year-old Wiseman's Ferry gelding did not respond to attempts to ease the issue naturally.
"We got him out on the lunge rein and tried to jog him around and he didn't work out of it," LoPresti said.
While Wise Dan was still in surgery, LoPresti called the issue "the best-case scenario for colic" after Hopper was able to investigate.
"From what I gather, he's got a piece of small intestine that flipped the wrong way," LoPresti said. "If we didn't go in there and do it, he would have lost blood supply and it would have been a bad scenario; the only way to fix it was to do it this way."
Hopper expects Wise Dan to spend about 6-8 weeks on the sidelines at the most, but the incident should not prevent him from coming back to run again as long as he progresses well through recovery.
"He's going to have to show me that he's okay, but I don't think it's career-ending," LoPresti said.
Wise Dan, bred by owner Morton Fink out of the Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle, has won 10 grade I races including the past two editions of the Breeders' Cup Mile and his most recent score, a repeat in the May 3 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. He has earnings of $6,802,920 with 21 wins and 2 seconds from 29 starts.