From a distance, English Secret looks like any other horse on the track, but a few steps closer reveals a definite disfigurement. The now four-year-old Indiana bred son of English Channel suffered severe frostbite as a baby, but has not let that stop him from achieving his path to the racetrack.
Owned by breeder Ken Meyer, English Secret was born at trainer Randy Klopp's farm near Rushville, Ind. and just happened to be born on one of the coldest nights of the year in 2015.
“I've never seen anything like that before,” said Klopp, referring to English Secret's frostbite. “We have had all kinds of horses born in all kinds of weather over the years. When we came out to the barn, the frostbite had already set in.”
Besides the obvious disfigurement of his ears, especially his right ear, English Secret did not suffer any other type of damage and continued to grow normally until he was broke as a two-year-old by Klopp, who is a native of Connersville, Ind and a graduate of Connersville Senior High School. Unraced at two, the gelding, who is now known as “Stubby” around the Klopp barn, made his racing debut last year at Tampa Bay Downs before returning to his home track at Indiana Grand.
“The damage to his ears doesn't cause him any problems,” said Klopp. “However, we did discover he had a breathing problem and he's had several throat surgeries to try to correct that issue.”
At the conclusion of the 2018 racing season at Indiana Grand, English Secret accompanied the stable to their winter base at the Williston Mile in Williston, Fla. There, he received a few months off and his fourth throat surgery. Klopp took his time getting the chestnut back into training and English Secret made his 2019 racing debut at Indiana Grand Tuesday, May 21.
English Secret is making progress. He has his best finish to date, finishing fourth in his first race of 2019. Under the guidance of jockey David Mello, the gelding maintained ground in mid pack in the effort. Klopp is curious to see how he will respond moving forward since his recent surgery. English Secret is on the right track.
Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing continues through Wednesday, Nov. 6. Racing is held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2:15 p.m. with Saturdays beginning at 6:15 p.m. For more information, visit the website at www.indianagrand.com.
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