03/16/2011 5:09PM

Fair Grounds: Ankle injury ends Gran Estreno's racing career

Lou Hodges Jr.
Anna Rose Napravnik guides Gran Estreno to victory in the Colonel E.R. Bradley earlier this season at Fair Grounds.

Gran Estreno, an 8-year-old horse who won multiple graded stakes after being claimed for $20,000 in May 2009, broke both sesamoids in his right front ankle joint at the end of a half-mile workout Monday morning at Fair Grounds. The horse has been shipped to the Rood and Riddle equine veterinary clinic near Lexington, Ky., and Dr. Larry Bramlage was scheduled to operate on the injured leg Friday. Gran Estreno can’t possibly race again, but if the surgery is successful he will be sound enough for mild farm life.

Hilary Pridham, assistant to trainer Mike Stidham, was aboard Gran Estreno when the injury occurred, and was able to keep the horse from falling.

“It was tragic, just horrible,” Stidham said, adding that there “was never a question about trying to save him.”

Owned by Feel the Thunder Stable, Gran Estreno, an Argentine-bred, won the Grade 3 Colonel Bradley Handicap earlier in the Fair Grounds meet, his third graded stakes victory since Feel the Thunder and Stidham claimed him at Arlington Park. Gran Estreno also won the Washington Park Handicap in 2009 and 2010, and was victorious in 9 of 19 starts for Stidham’s barn.