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Belmont Winner Mo Donegal Injured, Will Miss Breeders’ Cup

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • Belmont Stakes winner Mo Donegal is suffering from bone bruising.
  • As a result, he’ll miss the Travers Stakes at Saratoga and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in early November.
  • He’ll be re-evaluated in sixty days to determine the future of his racing career.

Belmont Stakes winner Mo Donegal is suffering from bone bruising and will be ‘shut down’ for at least sixty days. Trainer Todd Pletcher noticed that he wasn’t running with his usual enthusiasm during morning gallops and send him for a full medical examination. This led to the discovery of his ailment and put his competitive future in doubt.

What is known is that he’ll miss the major Grade 1 events for the rest of the year. They include the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga on August 27, as well as the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in early November. His connections are hoping that there will be more clarity as to his racing future at the end of his sixty day break. One of his co-owners is Donegal Racing CEO Jerry Crawford will consult with top medical advisors and do what is best for the horse:

“We’ll go over him very carefully in 60 days and see what kind of progress he has made, and then we’ll consult with Dr. Bramlage and see where we can go from there.”

Crawford is referring to Dr. Larry Bramlage, considered the ‘go to’ expert on thoroughbred race horses. Crawford went on to provide more detail about Mo Donegal’s injury:

“There is bone bruising and then there is bone bruising. Bone bruising can have a lot of aspects to it. It’s not a pure, simple diagnosis of bone bruising. You have to know what else is going on, how it’s responding, all of those things.”

The decision will then be made on Mo Donegal’s future. If he can’t race again–or if it’s determined that the risk factor of doing so is problematic–he’ll likely be turned out to stud:

“Obviously, our first choice would be if we could race him again. But in this business, you have to examine all of your options.”

Even if it is determined that Mo Donegal is fit to race, he won’t be back on the track anytime soon. He’d need approximately four months of training before he’s ‘race ready’. Crawford says that he’s ‘not setting himself up for disappointment”:

“I’m just trying to stay focused on the next step along the way each time. I’m not setting myself up for disappointment.”

He also says that he’s at peace with the possibility that his racing career could be over with the Belmont Stakes win as his primary legacy:

“He is magnificent. He has performed brilliantly. He certainly doesn’t owe us anything.”

The son of Uncle Mo, Mo Donegal would be a highly sought after breeding stallion. That means his retirement could be more lucrative than his racing career.

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