Belmont Stakes Contender Nehro to Undergo Surgery

Nehro, the fourth place finisher in the June 11 Belmont Stakes, will undergo surgery for a nonlife-threatening injury likely sustained during the final jewel of the Triple Crown. The 3-year-old colt is scheduled to undergo surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, in Lexington, Ky., to remove a bone chip from his right front fetlock.


Nehro will undergo surgery to remove a bone chip from his right front fetlock.

"We didn't see it until the next morning," said attending veterinarian James Hunt, DVM. "That's generally the way things go ... (the horse is) so hyped on adrenaline. A lot of times, unless it's a catastrophic type injury, you won't notice it until the following morning."

Hunt took X rays of the colt's right front leg where he found a chip in the proximal P1 bone (the long pastern) near the fetlock joint. He added that the chip almost certainly happened during the race.

"No doubt it happened during the race," he said. "You can tell the age of the chip fragment by its angularity. If it's been there a long time, it tends to round off and look smooth, but his had very prominent, sharp edges, so it obviously happened in the race.

"His prognosis looks very good," Hunt continued. "He's already left for ... Rood & Riddle where Dr. (Larry) Bramlage (DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS) will take the chip out."

Hunt explained that because the chip was located early and will be removed in a timely manner, Nehro has a good chance of returning to the races in a relatively short amount of time.

"It's not so much the bone fragment, but the health of the articular cartilage (that decides prognosis)," he said. "You don't expect to see a lot of cartilage damage with fresh chips. If you have an older chip in there, that tends to have a more guarded prognosis and a longer recovery. If you leave a chip in, it gets ground up and ends up being like having sand in the joint. The small particles of bone are abrasive and they wear down the cartilage. This looks like a fresh chip so I would imagine the joint surfaces look pretty good so once the chip is out, he could be back in relatively serious training after six weeks or so."

He noted that Bramlage will have a better idea of the colt's prognosis after examining the injury during surgery, but added "I wouldn't expect it to be a major deal at all."

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, News Editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in three-day eventing with her OTTB, Dorado, and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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