Nehro exits Belmont with ankle injury, surgery scheduled

by | 06.12.2011 | 3:12pm

Zayat Stables Nehro, a three-time Derby runner-up (Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky) who finished fourth to longshot winner Ruler On Ice in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, came out of the Triple Crown finale with an ankle chip that will require surgery, Ahmed Zayat said Sunday afternoon.

“It's not career-ending, but it sets us back,” said Zayat. “It's pretty disappointing. He'll miss the summer, but we're still hoping to point to the Breeders' Cup Classic. I'm trying to see the silver lining — maybe it's a blessing in disguise.”

Zayat described the injury to the right front fetlock as a “non-displaced proximal-anterior medial P1 chip fracture.” He said nothing seemed amiss when Nehro returned to his stall after the Belmont but that trainer Steve Asmussen detected a problem early Sunday morning and had Dr. James Hunt radiograph the ankle. Information relayed to Zayat was that it was a “fresh” injury that must have happened during the race.

Dr. Larry Bramlage will perform the surgery at Rood & Riddle, Zayat said.

“Steve is very disappointed, too. Both of my horses were training unbelievable coming up to yesterday,” said Zayat referring to Nehro and Justin Phillip, a First Samurai colt, named after Zayat's 19-year-old son, who went wire to wire to win the Grade 2 Woody Stephens impressively for Asmussen and Zayat.

Nehro, a Mineshaft colt bred in Kentucky by Mt. Brilliant Farm and purchased for $170,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, will be flown to Kentucky on Monday. Second choice in the wagering behind Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Nehro saved ground while in fifth or sixth position for most of the Belmont, then was angled out by jockey Corey Nakatani and caught the front-running Preakness winner Shackleford in the final yards to finish fourth, beaten 7 1/2 lengths in the Grade 1 Belmont.  He was beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Animal Kingdom in the Kentucky Derby, and a neck in both the Louisiana Derby (to Pants on Fire) and Arkansas Derby (to Archarcharch).

“This is such an intelligent horse, and he has a huge heart,” Zayat said. “I'll just have to do what's right by him and hopefully he'll come back and show us what he's made of.”

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