Juvenile champion Vindication, who suffered a suspensory ligament injury in early February, began jogging at Padua Training Center Monday and remains on track to return to racing later this year.
Prior to his return to light training this week, Padua Stables' Vindication underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy and stem-cell therapy in California. Nadia Sanan, general manager of Padua Stables, said only about 1,000 Thoroughbreds have been treated with stem-cell therapy.
The procedure entails withdrawing stem cells from a horse's hip and injecting them to the ligament where the injury occurred. Theoretically, the injury is then supposed to heal without any scar tissue or adhesions. Dr. Doug Herhel performed the procedure.
"Dr. Herthel said 85% of the subjects he did this with have returned to the track successfully, rather than about 15% [of horses] with this kind of injury that normally return to the track," Sanan said.
Vindication has not raced as a 3-year-old. The son of Seattle Slew earned the Eclipse Award for champion 2-year-old last year after a perfect four-race juvenile campaign that concluded with a win in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
"Everything looks perfect with his leg," said farm manager Randy Bradshaw. "This horse never looked better in his life. Now, we just have to get a couple more months of training under him, but we couldn't be more pleased with him right now."