07/13/2015 1:36PM

Lady Eli's racing future uncertain due to laminitis

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Barbara D. Livingston
Lady Eli wins the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks by 2 3/4 lengths on July 4 to remain undefeated.

ELMONT, N.Y. – The racing career of the undefeated 3-year-old filly Lady Eli is uncertain after her connections announced Monday that she has developed laminitis in her front feet.

Trainer Chad Brown said Monday that Lady Eli stepped on a nail while walking back from the test barn to her own barn at Belmont Park following her victory in the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks on July 4, injuring her left front foot.

“Despite our efforts, including a talented team of veterinarians, Lady Eli’s injury has led to her developing laminitis,” Brown said. “Thankfully, we have assembled the best possible team of veterinarians and farriers to stabilize her and assist her through these difficult times. I ask that all of her fans keep this magnificent racehorse in their prayers, and hopefully she will be back on the racetrack flashing her brilliance again.”

Laminitis is a hoof disease that can sometimes prove fatal, though the Grade 1 Haskell winner Paynter returned to race five times, including finishing second in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes, after being diagnosed with laminitis in all four of his feet.

Brown told Daily Racing Form that Lady Eli is currently stabled at Belmont Park in what he described as “stable but guarded condition.”
Further, Brown noted that Lady Eli has “been fitted with special shoes for support on both front feet.”

Lady Eli, a daughter of Divine Park, has won all six of her career starts, including a 2 3/4-length victory in the Belmont Oaks, in which she defeated 13 rivals and ran nearly two seconds faster than did her male counterpart, Force the Pass, in winning the Belmont Derby.

After the race, Brown said Lady Eli was the best turf filly he has been around, counting several whom he trained – including the champion Stacelita – and several champions with whom he worked when he was an assistant to Bobby Frankel.

In one of his quotes following the Belmont Oaks, Brown said that Lady Eli “breathes different air” than other horses.

As a 2-year-old, Lady Eli went 3 for 3, capped by a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Other victories recorded by Lady Eli include the Grade 3 Miss Grillo at 2 and the Grade 3 Appalachian and listed Wonder Again Stakes at age 3. She has earned $1,449,800. Lady Eli was purchased for $160,000 as a 2-year-old in training in April 2014 by Sheep Pond Partners, a group led by Jay Hanley and Sol Kumin.