(Edited Churchill Downs release)
Mike Cloonan's star turf sprinter Morluc is back home in the Churchill Downs barn of trainer Randy Morse after a disappointing trip to England in which the son of Housebuster was injured in one of the premier events of the famed Royal Ascot meet.
Morluc was battling for the lead under jockey Gary Stevens in the Group I Golden Jubilee, a six furlong sprint won by Australian invader Choisir, when he bobbled on the very firm footing and dropped back to finish last in the field of 17. After the race, Morluc's left front ankle was badly swollen and Morse feared that the 7-year-old had suffered a major and career-threatening injury.
But the foot looked much better on Morluc's return to Churchill Downs on Wednesday. The swelling had diminished to the point that the foot was, in Morse's words, "almost normal." Morse is now awaiting an examination and X-rays by veterinarians on Friday that he hopes will provide a clearer picture about his horse's prospects.
"Maybe we'll get lucky," said Morse. "They (British veterinarians) looked at him over there. They X-rayed him and said the X-rays showed that he didn't break nothing."
The setback at Royal Ascot left Morluc winless in three races in 2003. His career record stands at 11-9-5 in 40 races and he has earned $1,045,758.