Proud Citizen faces long rehabilitation
By David Grening
Daily Racing Form
ELMONT, N.Y. -- Proud Citizen, who came out of his fifth-place finish in Saturday's Belmont Stakes with a fractured left front shin, will undergo surgery within two weeks to help expedite the healing process, and is expected to be out four to six months.
Dr. Stephen Selway, who took another set of X-rays Sunday night after having taken a set Saturday, said he wanted to wait a little while, to allow the horse to get more sound and "get over the ordeal," before inserting fragment screws into Proud Citizen's cannonbone.
On Monday, Proud Citizen was resting comfortably in his Belmont Park stall, having been fitted with a soft cast around his left foreleg. Selway said the fracture is three inches long and located two inches below the knee.
Last year, Selway took chips out of Proud Citizen's left knee, but he said the injuries are unrelated.
Selway added that a shin fracture is "the most frustrating fracture for owners, trainers and vets" because it requires a long time to heal. "It's like a human tibia from a ski injury," Selway said. "It's a long healing process. You really have to be patient."
Selway added that the prognosis for a return to racing is excellent, and on Sunday morning trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he was hopeful he would get the horse back in time for the Strub Series next winter at Santa Anita. The Strub Series begins with the Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs in late December.
"There's no thought about it compromising his racing career," Lukas said. "Of all the things that could have happened, I guess that was the best-case scenario."
Proud Citizen came out of nowhere to be a factor in this year's Triple Crown. After running seventh in the Santa Anita Derby April 6, Proud Citizen punched his Derby ticket with a front-running win in the Lexington Stakes on April 20. Two weeks later, in the Kentucky Derby, he chased War Emblem around the track while finishing second. On May 18, Proud Citizen endured a wide trip while finishing third in the Preakness.
Saturday, Proud Citizen was in striking position around the far turn, but could not kick in as a result of his injury.
Proud Citizen earned $30,000 for his fifth-place finish. His owners, David Cornstein, Robert Baker, and William Mack, were to donate that plus another $70,000 to the Twin Towers Fund to aid the families of victims from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.