Derby winner to have minor throat surgery

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Aug 17, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
Elmont, N.Y. -- Mine That Bird, the 3-year-old gelding that won this year’s Kentucky Derby, will undergo minor surgery Tuesday morning for an entrapped epiglottis.

The surgery is to be performed by Dr. Patricia Hogan at the Ruffian Equine Medical Center just outside Belmont Park. Mine that Bird is co-owned by veterinarian Leonard Blach of Roswell, N.M.

The throat condition, caused when the membrane below the epiglottis moves upward and covers the epiglottis, making breathing difficult, was detected during a routine scope after a workout this morning at Saratoga Park, where Mine That Bird ran the slowest time of a dozen horses going five furlongs. Trainer Chip Woolley later took the horse to the Ruffian facility.

The corrective procedure is considered to be minor, Blach says. As to whether the horse will compete as scheduled in the $1 million Travers Stakes Aug. 29 at Saratoga, “we’ll just have to see how it goes,” he added. Woolley says he hopes the horse can recover sufficiently to compete there in two weeks.

Mine That Bird ran second in this year’s Preakness and third in the Belmont Stakes. He was third in the West Virginia Derby, his latest start.