11/29/2013 2:26PM

Clubhouse Ride to miss time after foot-trimming mishap

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Clubhouse Ride will begin training in earnest for a 2014 campaign once his hoof grows out.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The 2014 campaign of Grade 2 winner Clubhouse Ride will not resemble his outstanding campaign of early 2013.

According to trainer Craig Lewis and co-owner Rick Seidner, a flawed foot-trimming procedure will postpone the comeback of Clubhouse Ride, one of the top handicap horses in California during the first half of 2013.

Lewis sent Clubhouse Ride to a nearby layup facility in fall for what was intended to be a refreshing vacation away from the racetrack. When the horse returned to Santa Anita on Nov. 15, Lewis was stunned. Clubhouse Ride was unable to resume training.

“They trimmed his feet and they cut most of his foot off,” Lewis said. “It would be like if you took a fingernail clipper and cut your fingernail off. It’s going to grow back, but it’s going to take time.”

Clubhouse Ride could not be shod properly, Lewis said.

“There’s no foot to put a shoe on,” he said. “I’ve been training 35 years and I’ve never seen this before. It defies all reason.”

After walking for a week, Clubhouse Ride was examined by renowned farrier Wes Champagne, who fitted him with glue-on shoes. The horse resumed jogging Nov. 24.

“We just need to get more foot growth, and then we’ll start training him,” Lewis said.

Lewis said neither he nor his owners gave Winner’s Circle Ranch in Bradbury permission to trim Clubhouse Ride’s feet. Ranch manager Leigh Gray declined comment on the foot-trimming procedure.

She said Champagne indicated to her “there was no damage done” to Clubhouse Ride and that Winner’s Circle offered to reimburse the owners for charges related to his feet.

Runner-up three times to Game On Dude in 2013, Clubhouse Ride tailed off the second half of the season. After finishing fourth Sept. 22 in the $100,000 Ralph M. Hinds Handicap at the Los Angeles County Fair, Lewis sent him to Winner’s Circle.

“When the horse went out there he was perfect,” Lewis said. “We just wanted to give him a rest. We thought we’d get top care. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s very disappointing and it’s going to cost us a lot of money if he’s as good as he was last year.”

The 2014 campaign for Clubhouse Ride initially targeted the San Antonio Stakes, Santa Anita Handicap, and Charles Town Classic. He finished second in those races in 2013 before winning the Grade 2 Californian at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Meanwhile, the comeback is on hold.

“We just have to hope there is quick foot growth, but it’s going to take a while,” Lewis said.

Clubhouse Ride, 5, has won four races and $997,994 from 32 starts for Seidner’s Six-S Racing Stable and co-owner Niko Petralia.