A roller coaster week for trainer Randy Morse is ending on an "up" note following the latest examination of stable star Morluc and his injured left front ankle.
An ultra-sound examination of the still-swollen ankle by veterinarian Dr. Kevin Dunlavy found no evidence of any bone fracture and Dunlavy told Morse that Morluc had apparently hypextended ligaments in the ankle. That would be an injury that would require only time to heal and the prognosis left Morse optimistic that his veteran turf sprint star would return to racing.
"My gut feeling is that I think he'll be okay," said Morse. "He's tough. This horse has overcome a lot worse things than this."
The 7-year-old Morluc, who is owned by Mike Cloonan, injured the ankle during the running of the Golden Jubilee (Eng-I) a week ago at England's legendary Royal Ascot meet. Morluc, who was battling for the lead at the time of the injury, faded to last in the field of 17 in the six furlong sprint won by the Australian Choisir.
The badly-swollen ankle was examined and X-rayed by veterinarians at Royal Ascot, but their examinations yielded no evidence of a fracture. Morse was initially relieved when the swelling had eased on Morluc's return to Churchill Downs on Thursday following his return trip from England and a period in quarantine. But the swelling had been up and down since then, which continued to concern Morse until Saturday's examination.
"I know one guy who's going to awfully happy is that owner," said Morse. "He (Cloonan) ain't had much sleep. This horse has done a lot for him. He was mad at himself for taking him over there and blaming himself, but you can't think that way. He could have done that galloping or anything."
Morluc has earned $1,045,758 in a career that, along with his trip to England, has twice taken him to Hong Kong for international stakes competition. He has a career record of 11-9-5 in 40 races.