11/01/2010 3:59PM

Werner has a reason to be feeling lucky

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Ronny Werner has three horses for this year's Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Ronny Werner has trained three horses that started in Breeders’ Cup races, so the fact that he has three more ready to go for the 2010 Breeders’ Cup made this week at Churchill Downs memorable. Werner, it turns out, can count himself lucky to be able to remember the week at all. Or even to have an entire head to house a brain to store memories.

On Sunday morning, Werner was doing a routine leg check on horses in his Churchill barn when a filly named Catnandu, politely described by Werner as “pretty ornery,” kicked her trainer. Hard.

“That was no cow kick, no love tap,” Werner said. “She was firing. She wanted to hurt me.”

Mission accomplished. One of Catnandu’s hooves found an endpoint on Werner’s forehead, and he’s got a fairly deep, slightly curved horizontal gash to show just where it landed. Taken to a nearby hospital, Werner had a CAT scan, and there was some concern when his pupils were slow to dilate, but after eight stitches closed the wound, Werner was sent on his way. By early afternoon, he was in the Churchill paddock holding a lead shank on Central City (Turf Sprint) while all three of his BC starters schooled.

“Two inches to the right, she hits my temple, and I’m probably not standing here right now,” Werner said Monday morning.
Werner was lucky, and now he needs some luck for his runners, which also include Secret Gypsy (Filly and Mare Sprint) and Soundwave (Juvenile Fillies).

Five-year-old Secret Gyspy set a Saratoga main-track record during the summer of her 2-year-old season and was strong at 3, but after a second knee surgery and four straight losses from May 2009 to May 2010 – including a defeat at odds of 1-2 in a minor stakes at Indiana Downs – she basically looked done.

“Physically, I could see she was good, but it’s tough to come back, and mentally, some fillies don’t ever come back,” Werner said.
But Secret Gypsy turned things around, finishing second in the Winning Colors Stakes here May 31 and then went on to win three stakes in a row, including the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga.

Central City’s problems have centered around breathing, not his legs, but after having tie-back surgery early this summer to help him get his air, Central City set the pace and finished a close second to Silver Timber in the Woodford Stakes at Keeneland.

Soundwave has won 3 of 4 starts, but has not raced beyond six furlongs. Who knows how Soundwave will handle a route of ground? At least she has not attempted to decapitate her trainer.