Updated on 03/16/2017 1:01PM

Mastery's win in San Felipe overshadowed by condylar fracture in left front leg

Emily Shields
Mastery begins to draw away to a 6 3/4-length victory under Mike Smith in the San Felipe, but was pulled up shortly afterwards after favoring his left hind leg.

 ARCADIA, Calif. – The joy trainer Bob Baffert felt at watching Mastery win his first start at age 3 on Saturday in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita turned quickly to disappointment when the 3-year-old colt, one of the top prospects for the Kentucky Derby, was discovered to have a condylar fracture to his left front leg, knocking him off the Derby trail.

 Surgery will be performed Monday, Baffert said. He said two screws would be inserted. He did not know if this was a career-ending injury.

 Mastery was pulled up soon after the finish by jockey Mike Smith, who said he felt Mastery favoring his left hind leg, and said he wouldn’t put weight on the foot. But Smith said that after another minute or so, Mastery was walking fine. Out of caution, Mastery was taken back to Baffert’s barn in the horse ambulance.

 Once there, though, Mastery began showing signs of discomfort in his left front leg, and X-rays revealed the injury.

 “We went from the highest of highs,” Baffert said at his barn. “What an amazing performance.”

 The post-race developments took away from a game performance by Mastery, who turned back challenges from Gormley and then Iliad to win the Grade 2, $400,690 San Felipe, the final local prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 8. Mastery, unbeaten in three starts at age 2, was making his first start since winning the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity at Los Alamitos in December. He earned 50 points toward a berth in the May 6 Kentucky Derby, but that is moot now.

 “We’ve been so high on this horse,” Baffert said. “Here you think you have the best 3-year-old in the nation and then you’re walking down and you hear fans say, ‘I hope you’re horse is all right.’ ”

 Smith said that Mastery “all of a sudden went off, wouldn’t put weight” on his left hind.

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 “After a while he starting walking fine,” Smith said. “He’s really a talented horse, some kind of strong. He kept hitting gears. It was a pretty impressive race.”

 Mastery ($3.60), the favorite, went for the early lead, with Gormley just to his outside and Iliad just behind and outside Gormley as they went into the first turn. Mastery went 23.50 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, and then was forced through a middle half-mile in 46.98 to reach the six-furlong mark in 1:10.48.

 As the field went around the far turn, Gormley was the first to yield from between horses. Iliad tried gallantly to reach Mastery, but Mastery turned him back and then drew clear for a 6 3/4-length victory in 1:42.28 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track.

 Iliad held second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of third-place Term of Art, who rallied from last in the field of seven.

 Gormley faded to fourth, 9 3/4 lengths behind Mastery, then came, in order, Ann Arbor Eddie, Bluegrass Envy, and Vending Machine.

 Mastery, a son of Candy Ride, earned a first prize of $240,000 and has now earned more than $500,000 for owner Everett Dobson’s Cheyenne Stable LLC. But this was a hollow victory.




Scott 9 months ago
This is really sad.  It was an incredible performance!  He was definitely going to the top of my list for the Derby and then I see Smith pulling him up with virtually no gallop out.  

Every year we see Derby contenders fall off the trail, but this year seems worse than most:

Not This Time - I'm starting with him, because I really liked the way he was finishing in the BC Juvenile.  He seemed like a horse that just wanted more distance.  

Classic Empire - His pedigree and Juvenile win screamed monster, but a foot abscess and now we're hearing about possible back issues seem to have taken him out of consideration.  Even if he can make his next start, I think he's lost too much time.  

McCraken - He's back in training, but it's hard to get a feel with the times he's putting up.  My fingers are crossed, but it's never a good thing when a horse misses a start on the Derby Trail.  We have seen horses win recently off of two preps, but I still favor the 3 prep approach.

And now Mastery....We'll see with McCraken, but we potentially have lost the top 4 contenders on most people's list and we're only half way through March.  

Judy Gaddis 9 months ago
Tragic end to a really REALLY promising horse and his 3 year old campaign (and in all likelihood his career).  We should just all stop blame shifting and be thankful we didn't witness a "Go For Wand" at the finish line and, racing God's willing, Mastery makes a full recovery.
John 9 months ago
Iliad wins SA Derby and KY Derby
mike 9 months ago
No he doesn't.
John 9 months ago
As long as the horse is well nothing else matters. You can blame Baffert but in the end  these horses perform for our pleasure. So we all must take our part in it.
Thomas 9 months ago
My post was deleted by drf for writing facts about Baffert and horses?  Haha, he either trains them to win big races or trains them to injury or death.    Read the drf article on Baffert from 2013, 7 Baffert horses died in a 16 month period,  Baffert was exonerated by the chrb, but how can a trainer have 7 horses die under his care in a little over a year and his training methods aren't questioned? Yet drf deletes my non threatening post, haha   
Anonymous 9 months ago
They need to review why horses coming into big races like the San Felipe do so with so little foundation or racing recency. Mastery ran a few times but took until now to kick off the K.D. campaign. He has raw talent but maybe something was amiss, which is why most likely he was lightly raced. Maybe he put too much pressure to win or has bone issues. Candy Ride retired early. But at least Masterly did not have a catastrophic injury. Masterly ran the best race for a three-year old this year and should be ranked on the top of the heap, whether or not he races later or not. Was watching TVG and the DRF Live. The TVG analysts at least were somber. One of the two talkers on DRF Live needs to get more experience and maturity, based on his responses to Masterly's win.
mike 9 months ago
Thomas, I hear ya, man.
JasmineTedesco 9 months ago
You know better than the CHRB and Baffert. Smart guy. 
mike 9 months ago
Casey Gould 9 months ago
The horse was not euthanized nor is it right place time for your judgement or stats so go do ur stats and plese let us know. You accusations will not be backed with nothing more then your negative outlook of the best sport trainers horses in the game. 
Anonymous 9 months ago
oh my...what voices in your head are you talking to. Nobody is even suggesting what you do...get some help
mike 9 months ago
Casey, so you're one of those who look the other way,right?
JasmineTedesco 9 months ago
Maybe Casey just doesn't lunge for the pitchfork without thinking 
mike 8 months ago
*eye roll*
Jack Mandato 9 months ago
mike 9 months ago
Best wishes for Mastery.
Mario Borgo 9 months ago
He is done for the triple. 2 bad he looked like the 1 too beat!
Richard Baltimore 9 months ago
mastery win  derby