09/13/2010 1:55PM

Super Saver gets stall rest for bone bruising

Barbara D. Livingston
Super Saver, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby, is winless in three starts since the Derby.

Super Saver will have 60 days of stall rest before being re-evaluated for bone bruising that was diagnosed last week by nuclear scintigraphy, Elliott Walden, racing manager for the colt’s owner, WinStar Farm, said Monday.

WinStar put out a news release Sunday announcing that tests conducted Wednesday by noted equine veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage had revealed that Super Saver, the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner, had “marked activity in all four cannon bones,” Bramlage said. “The left front fetlock has the most radiographic change, with a major bruise on the cannon bone. Once these are resolved, the horse should return to his previous form.”

The bone bruising serves to largely explain why Super Saver had fared so poorly since his 2 1/4-length triumph in the May 1 Derby. Super Saver ran eighth in the Preakness, fourth in the Haskell, and 10th in the Travers.

Walden said trainer Todd Pletcher had not sent Super Saver to the racetrack to train since the Aug. 28 Travers. The colt has been sent to WinStar in Versailles, Ky., and after the prescribed time of rest is up, which will be early to mid-November, “we’ll see where we stand with him and whether or not we’ll be sending him to Palm Meadows to train this winter,” Walden said from the Keeneland yearling sale in Lexington.

Walden said the diagnosis by Bramlage has been something of a relief to the colt’s connections.

“After the Travers, we knew we had to have him thoroughly examined, because ever since the Derby, obviously he just hadn’t performed to expectations,” he said. “He’d proven he’s a lot better than he’d been running. Sure enough, Dr. Bramlage said the pictures lit up on the bottom of all four cannon bones. It’s pretty typical of bone bruising that he would’ve been running like he was.”

Pletcher said in the WinStar release: “This explains a lot to me. I couldn’t understand those last few efforts where Super Saver didn’t extend and lay it out there like he had in every other race he ran through the Kentucky Derby victory. He has always been very gutsy and determined in his races, even when he set fast fractions, so this answers a lot of head-scratching.”

WinStar, owned by Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt, won two-thirds of the Triple Crown this year, with their Drosselmeyer capturing the Belmont Stakes. Drosselmeyer, trained by Bill Mott, also is through racing this year after having been diagnosed with an ankle problem in July.