Fabulous Strike, a five-time graded stakes winner and one of the top sprinters in the country over the past three seasons, recently underwent stem cell treatment at New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., in an effort to get him back to the racetrack later this summer.
Trainer Todd Beattie said Walter Downey's homebred 7-year-old gelded son of Smart Strike had the stem cell treatment about five weeks ago after an ultrasound determined he had a ligament strain in his pastern.
Stem cell therapy is a breakthrough procedure in which bone marrow is used to help regenerate tissue. The relatively new technique has been used with success by a handful of equine veterinarians, including Dr. Doug Herthel, who helped pioneer the treatments at Alamo Pintado Equine Center in California. Stem cell therapy has been used successfully to help a number of horses recover from many types of joint, tendon, and ligament injuries.
It is the first time Beattie, who is based at Penn National Race Course in western Pa., has used stem cell treatment for one of his horses. Dr. Michael Ross performed the one-time treatment on Fabulous Strike.
“It wasn’t like he was limping or anything, but he just wasn’t right,” Beattie said of Fabulous Strike, who last raced in the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) in October, 2009 at Belmont Park when finishing second. “So we decided to do an ultrasound. There was no tear or anything but there was some edema. We decided to go the stem-cell route.
"I have so much confidence in Dr. Ross. Some of my family, who has been in the business many years, have had good success with it. It’s a really interesting technique. (Fabulous Strike) seems to be doing very well so far.”
Beattie said Fabulous Strike will return to the New Bolton Center for further observation in a couple of weeks and if he gets a clean bill of health, will return to training in July. Beattie is shooting for late fall to get Fabulous Strike back to the races.
“He’s never had a soundness issue his whole career,” said Beattie. “We're hopeful he will recover from this and everything will be good to start back.”
Out of the Lost Code mare Fabulous Find, Fabulous Strike has won 14 of 24 starts for earnings of more than $1.4 million. The dark bay/brown horse won the Vosburgh in 2007 by nearly six lengths. He also counts the 2009 True North Handicap and Alfred G. Vanderbilt handicaps (both gr. II), 2008 Gravesend Handicap (gr. III), and 2007 Aristides Stakes (gr. III) among his 12 stakes victories.