Surgery for the brilliant filly Indyanne, who fractured a sesamoid in her left front ankle while leading in the stretch of the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Dec. 27, has been postponed, trainer Greg Gilchrist said the morning following the accident.
"It's been a very interesting last 16 hours," said Gilchrist Dec. 28. "It was really ugly at first. After we first unloaded her from the horse ambulance (at the barn), let's just say that it didn't look good."
However, after Dr. Vince Baker, a private veterinarian, examined X-rays of the injury, the prognosis improved. Though she had "shattered the inside sesamoid, the outside was perfect," Gilchrist said. He added that "her suspensory ligaments were not torn up nearly as badly as we thought they would be."
"Dr. Baker, after consulting with a couple of other vets, decided surgery is something we didn't need to do," Gilchrist said.
The 3-year-old filly's injured leg has been placed in a makeshift cast and she was given some tranquilizers. If reports continue to be good, the trainer said she would be transported back to Kentucky within a week or so. Her owner, John Sikura, owns Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Lexington.
Indyanne's racing career is over. If the Kentucky-bred daughter of Indian Charlie recovers satisfactorily and cycles on time, she is expected to be bred next year, Gilchrist said.
"She's pretty comfortable," he said. "But she's not moving around the way she was yesterday morning, that's for sure. She's not completely out of the woods at this point. But all of this has been pretty encouraging."
Indyanne, ridden by Russell Baze, set the pace and was leading the seven-furlong La Brea approaching mid-stretch when she was challenged on the outside by eventual winner Indian Blessing.
"Russell said they were just cruising along and he had just asked her to run after (Indian Blessing) came up on her outside," Gilchrist said. "That's when it happened; it (the leg) gave out on her just like that."
Gilchrist credited Baze with getting Indyanne, who had lurched toward the rail, to pull up quickly so that the damage wasn't worse.
"He said he knew right away that something was wrong," he said.
The precocious Indyanne, originally owned by David and Jill Heerensperger before being sold to Sikura recently, retires with five wins and two seconds in eight lifetime starts and earnings of $449,870. She won the first four starts of her career by a combined 32 1/2 lengths, including a 9 1/2-length triumph in Calder's Azalea Stakes (gr. III) in July. She also captured the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland Oct. 4.
"I prefer to look at this as the glass is half full," said Gilchrist, who lost the champion sprinter Lost in the Fog to cancer in September 2006. "Things could have been a helluva lot worse.”
Offshoot Farm bred Indyanne, who is out of the Silver Ghost mare Merchant.