Updated on 09/17/2011 9:06PM

Rockport Harbor diagnosed with blood clot


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Rockport Harbor was diagnosed with a blood clot on Sunday, and is considered day-to-day for the $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 16, according to his trainer, John Servis. If he were to miss the race, Rockport Harbor will be pointed for the Grade 2, $325,000 Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland on April 23.

Rockport Harbor did not train on Saturday or Sunday, and, at the earliest, will not be released to return to the track until Wednesday. He was examined on Sunday by Doug Byars, a prominent veterinarian who flew in to Oaklawn from Lexington, Ky.

"He did an ultrasound, and what [Rockport Harbor] has is a blood clot in his neck," said Servis.

The blood clot is located on the right side of Rockport Harbor's neck, and is being treated with a combination of blood thinners and antibiotics. There is no sign of an abscess, said Servis.

"The main concern is the blood clot dissolving," he said. "Dr. Byars doesn't want him to go to the racetrack and break that loose and have it travel somewhere, so we can't send him to the track until Wednesday."

Servis believes the blood clot might have been brewing for a while, and "came to a head," on Saturday. Servis did not train Rockport Harbor that morning after the colt did not seem like himself, and was found to have a small knot on his neck. An injection is believed to be the cause of the blood clot.

"Longterm, the prognosis is good," said Servis.

As for a start in the Arkansas Derby, the setback places Rockport Harbor on a tight schedule from now until April 16.

"We're going to try to make it, but I'll let the horse tell me," said Servis. "If he's not ready, then we'll run in the Lexington."

Rockport Harbor had been on a day-to-day basis for the Grade 3, $250,000 Rebel last month at Oaklawn after an old laceration on his right hind foot flared up. But he won that battle and finished a big second in the March 19 race, which was his first start at 3.

Rockport Harbor was undefeated as a 2-year-old, and closed out his juvenile campaign with a win in the Grade 2 Remsen on Nov. 27. In that race, he was stepped on by another rival and suffered a gash to his right hind foot. The foot, which was patched on Friday afternoon after another recent flareup, was in great shape as of Sunday, said Servis.

Rockport Harbor, who is a top candidate for the Kentucky Derby, is owned by Fox Hill Farms. Servis won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness last year with Smarty Jones.