03/07/2012 5:56PM

Fair Grounds: St. John’s River on comeback trail

Tom Keyser
After surgery, St. John's River is unlikely to start at the Fair Grounds meet.

The 2011 Kentucky Oaks runner-up St. John’s River, returned to trainer Andy Leggio’s barn in mid-February following a protracted recovery from throat surgery performed to repair a breathing problem, and posted a timed workout on Feb. 29, going an easy half-mile in 51.20 seconds.

“We took it real easy on her in that work,” said Leggio. “Her throat looks great. We’ve scoped her probably five times since she’s been here, and it can’t look any better than it did, but I’m going to bring her along easy.”

Before St. John’s River came up with the problem, Leggio had hoped to bring her back in the March 17 New Orleans Ladies and then move on to the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn, but that plan obviously has to be altered.

“She had a little complication after the surgery and it took longer to heal than we thought,” Leggio said. “Instead of 10 days it turned into six weeks.”

Therefore, St. John’s River is unlikely to start during the Fair Grounds meet. Leggio said he’s been given six stalls at Churchill Downs and that he plans to send St. John’s River and five allowance horses to Kentucky this spring. If all goes well, St. John’s River could make her 4-year-old debut May 4 at Churchill in the La Troienne Stakes, Leggio said.