Unbeaten multiple Grade I winner Lady Eli is battling laminitis in both front feet, trainer Chad Brown said Monday.
Brown said that Lady Eli stepped on a nail on the horse path heading back to the barn after her 23/4-length win in the Grade I Belmont Oaks on July 4 and that the ailment in her left foot has led to her developing the potentially fatal disease.
"Thankfully, we have assembled the best possible team of veterinarians and farriers to stabilize her and assist her through these difficult times," Brown said in a news release. "I ask that all of her fans keep this magnificent racehorse in their prayers and hopefully she will be back on the racetrack flashing her brilliance again."
Laminitis has no cure and was the crippling disease that led to 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat being euthanized in 1989. It also contributed to the death of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro as he was euthanized months after fracturing a hind leg in that year's Preakness Stakes.
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Owned by Sheep Pond Partners, Lady Eli is unbeaten in six career starts with $1,449,800 in earnings. The 3-year-old daughter of Divine Park capped her 2014 campaign with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and was an Eclipse Award finalist for champion 2-year-old filly.
The dark bay filly has remained flawless this season, opening her season with a victory in the Grade III Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland on April 12 before taking the Wonder Again Stakes at Belmont Park on May 21.
Brown, who has conditioned such champions as Dayatthespa, Zagora and Stacelita, declared Lady Eli "probably at the top of the list" of horses he has been around in his career after she uncorked her brilliant turn of foot to take the Belmont Oaks.