07/07/2011 3:24PM

Animal Kingdom back home after surgery

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Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom returned to trainer Graham Motion’s barn at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland over the Fourth of July weekend following surgery to repair two fractures that will sideline him the remainder of his 3-year-old season.

On June 30, Animal Kingdom had two screws inserted to repair a slab fracture of the left hock as well as an additional hairline fracture in the site of the original one. The surgery was performed by Dr. Dean Richardson at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa.

Plans call for Animal Kingdom to begin walking in a couple of weeks and for him to begin exercising on a water treadmill for 30 days following 60 days of rehabilitation. The colt will return to training after 90 days of inactivity.

In a press release, Motion said that Dr. Dean Richardson, who performed the surgery, said the hairline fracture would not increase the amount of rehabilitation time Animal Kingdom will need.

“Dean said that in the final analysis, the extra hairline meant nothing, but he noted it just to show how important it is to have the use of the scan available, because until these surgeons go in there, nobody knows what they will find for sure,” Motion said. “He says he expects no complications from this event.”

Richardson said the fractures could have healed on their own “but by using screws, we will have a more reliable, consistent time schedule for healing and have given the horse his best chance to minimize any arthritis that might occur in the leg had we just let nature do its job.”