Reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan underwent emergency colic surgery at Lexington's Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital to repair a part of the small intestine that flipped, trainer Charlie LoPresti said Friday.
LoPresti said Wise Dan had a routine gallop at Keeneland on Friday morning but that discomfort was detected in the 7-year-old gelding about an hour later. LoPresti said they tried jogging Wise Dan out of it but shipped him to the clinic when his level of pain did not subside.
Dr. Scott Hopper performed the surgery in which it was discovered a piece of the bowel had flipped. LoPresti termed that diagnosis "the best-case scenario for colic" and said that Wise Dan was expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a return to racing a strong possibility after that.
"When he came in I said, 'I don't care if he races again as long as you save his life,'" LoPresti said. "Basically it's the best-case scenario for colic, nothing had to be resected for colic. No scenario about colic is good, but the long and short of it is if he recovers from it, it's six or eight weeks off at the most.
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"As long as he gets up and he doesn't try to colic again we're in good shape."
LoPresti said that if surgery had not been performed, blood loss could have been more serious.
"He had a piece of small bowel that just looped over. It was getting inflamed if he didn't go in there, get it and straighten it out. We could have been in a bad scenario," LoPresti said. "The vets at the track treated him for colic. He didn't have any gut sounds when they listened to it.
"Our van picked him up and he was in (Rood & Riddle) within a matter of an hour after the colic."
Barring any setbacks, Wise Dan could be sent home in about three to five days. He probably will recover at LoPresti's Keeneland barn rather than on his trainer's Lexington-based farm.
The chestnut two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner was out of recovery in good order by late Friday afternoon, and LoPresti said as long he made it through the night with no complications, they could begin giving him food by Saturday.
"When I left him he was banging around on his hay net," he said. "They put a muzzle on him and he was kind of poking around trying to get to the straw. Everybody I talked to said as long as it's not re-occurring colic, it shouldn't be career-ending."
A six-time Eclipse Award winner, Wise Dan most recently captured the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic by a nose at Churchill Downs on May 3 after opening his 2014 campaign with a victory in the Grade I Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland in April.
Morton Fink's homebred has won 21 of 29 career starts, including 10 Grade I triumphs, and amassed career earnings of $6,802,920.