04/06/2011 1:08PM

Fabulous Strike returning, thanks to stem-cell procedure

Reed Palmer Photography
Fabulous Strike will make his comeback Saturday in a Penn National allowance.

Thanks to the miracle of modern science, the big horse in trainer Todd Beattie’s barn is ready to resume racing for the first time since the fall of 2009.

The millionaire Fabulous Strike, a five-time graded stakes winner and one of the nation’s top sprinters between 2007 and 2009, will launch his comeback Saturday night in a six-furlong $38,000 allowance at Penn National Race Course.

The now 8-year-old Fabulous Strike, who has not run since finishing second as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Vosburgh Handicap at Belmont Park on Oct. 3, 2009, is part of a six-horse field in Penn National’s featured eighth race. His foes includes Peppi Knows, runner-up in the Grade 2 Remsen in 2009, and Wink at the Girls, the third-place finisher in the March 15 $75,000 Bensalem at Parx Racing.

Fabulous Strike came out of the 2009 Vosburgh with a strained ligament in his left front pastern. He not only missed that year’s Breeders’ Cup, but all of last season. In an attempt to rehabilitate the injury, Beattie took Fabulous Strike to the New Bolton Center in southeast Pennsylvania, where he underwent stem cell therapy last summer. Dr. Michael Ross performed the one-time treatment in which bone marrow is used to regenerate damaged tissue.

“He had never had a soundness issue his whole career,” said Beattie of Fabulous Strike, who has won 14 of 24 starts and $1.2 million. “It wasn’t like he was limping or anything, but he just wasn’t right. So we decided to do an ultrasound. There was no tear or anything, but there was some edema. We decided to go the stem-cell route.”

Being patient with Fabulous Strike was the key, Beattie said.

“He let us know from his actions when he was ready to go back into training, and he has looked and acted like his old self for the past four months.”

Beattie had Fabulous Strike almost ready to run last November, but elected not to ship to Florida to run him. The horse has had more than dozen works since then, including a sizzling 58.60-second drill from the gate on March 26, the fastest of 54 moves at the distance that day at Penn National.

“There’s not one step difference between the way he’s training now and the way he trained three years ago,” Beattie said. “It’s just like old times.”

Dana Whitney, Penn National’s leading rider, worked Fabulous Strike from the gate and will ride Saturday. He won a pair of stakes on the sprinter at Mountaineer in 2008.

“But anytime Ramon Dominquez gets free from his Triple Crown obligations, he will be aboard – he loves this horse,” Beattie said.

If all goes well Saturday, Beattie said he would consider a pair of six-furlong stakes for Fabulous Strike, the $75,000 Vince Moscarelli on May 7 at Delaware Park and the Grade 2, $250,000 True North on the Belmont Stakes undercard on June 11.

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