Left Bank Undergoes Successful Surgery; Career May Be Over

Left Bank Undergoes Successful Surgery; Career May Be Over
Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Left Bank, right, en route to Whitney victory.
Multiple graded stakes winner Left Bank survived emergency abdominal surgery Saturday, which may spell the end of his racing career.

A week after he won the 75th Whitney Handicap (gr.I) in track- record tying time, the 5-year-old son of French Deputy owned by Michael Tabor showed signs of distress Saturday morning. After being treated at trainer Todd Pletcher's barn, he was sent to Tufts New England Veterinary Medical Center's
Hospital for Large Animals.

Dr. Carl Kirker-Head, the head of section of the Large Animal Hospital performed the surgery. Pletcher said the horse will likely spend seven to 10 days in recovery at the hospital.

"What the plans are after that are yet to be determined," Pletcher said. "I'll get with Demi O'Byrne and Mr.Tabor and at some point they'll make the decision on what the next step is."

Considering his accomplishements, age, and value as a stallion prospect, the Whitney may have been the final race of Left Bank's four-year career.

"The 60 days of inactivity or what follows this kind of puts you into somewhere in October," Pletcher said. ¨I don't want to say anything for sure, but based on where it falls it would be unlikely he would run again this year."

Pletcher was encouraged by the reports he received Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

"Basically, the surgery was a success," Pletcher said. ¨He's come out of the surgery well, he's in good shape this morning. The doctors are pleased with everything that has happened so far. As with any surgery, there can be complications. We're keeping our fingers crossed that everything continues to go smoothly, as it has so far."

According to Pletcher, Left Bank was sent to the suburban Boston hospital, a three-hour ride by van, when he did not respond to medication for the colic-like symptoms.

"This was a major surgery," Dr. Kirker-Head said Sunday. "His level of comfort is a lot better now.He wasin a lotof pain when he arrived here. He'll get a lot of close caring attention."

Pletcher said the doctor told him that none of Left Bank's intestine was removed during the operation.

"I don't really understand it, but there is kind of a lining to the stomach that apparently had some holes in it and his bowels dropped through there," Pletcher said. "When that happened, that's what caused the discomfort.

In 24 starts, Left Bank has won 14 times and finished second twice. He has earned $1.4 million in purse money. On July 4, he won Tom Fool (gr. II) at Belmont Park, setting a track record for seven furlongs of 1:20. In the Whitney, he was able to sit behind the early speed and get the nine furlongs while holding off Street Cry and Lido Palace, and equalled the track record for nine furlongs of 1:47.

"It's so difficult to get to that level," Pletcher said. "That's why I guess you really have to enjoy those moments. You know how difficult it is to get there. It takes a little of the starch out of you. The fact that the horse was OK was the most important thing. He was able to accomplish a lot and we're very proud of that. His last two performances are performances that not only people who were associated with him will remember,but the racing community as well. Those were standout performances."

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