Gary Garber's Flame Thrower, who was vanned off the track following a second-place finish to Put It Back in Saturday's Riva Ridge Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park, was scheduled to be flown to California on Sunday and undergo surgery after suffering a lateral condylar fracture of his left front distal metacarpus. Dr. Don Baker, who treated the Bob Baffert runner, said the injury is not life-threatening.
Baker said surgery will be performed by Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, who Baker said would use two or three screws to mend the fracture, located just above the ankle joint. "He'll have a lot better idea with his arthroscope whether the horse will be able to race again," Baker said.
Garber acquired the Florida-bred son of Saint Ballado -- Metromane, by Metrogrand, for $270,000 at last year's OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training. Flame Thrower won his first four starts, including narrow victories over Street Cry in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) and Norfolk Stakes (gr. II), then finished eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). He required arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips in his knee following the Breeders' Cup and didn't return to the races until Preakness Day, when he finished second to Disco Rico in the Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III).
"Jerry (jockey Jerry Bailey) said he felt Flame Thrower take a funny step turning into the stretch and he eased up on him," Garber said. "But he said the horse took off again and he thought he was fine. He's got a lot of heart. If he can't come back from this 100 percent, he won't run."