Arnold Zetcher’s Always a Princess, who cracked both sesamoids during the running of the Santa Margarita Invitational (gr. I), is resting comfortably following surgery March 13 at the Equine Medical Center in Cypress, and the prognosis is good for her recovery.
The daughter of Leroidesanimaux, out of Gabriellina Giof, by Ashkalani, set a rapid pace in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Margarita and appeared exhausted in deep stretch after battling with odds-on favorite Switch. She took a bad step, was pulled up and fell approaching the finish. She was able to regain her feet and was removed from the course by ambulance.
“There was no other bone damage, so (Dr. Wayne McIlwraith) was very optimistic,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “It was a good surgery and everything went back in place. He said there was a lot of blood supply in the leg and that’s the most important thing. She walked normally back to her stall, so that was very encouraging. He said he had never seen a fracture like that, breaking the bottom halves of both sesamoids. Usually they split and go sideways and become a mess. Hers were all intact. He gave me a very positive outlook, so I feel so much better about it.”
Always a Princess exited racing with five wins from 10 starts and earnings of $516,048. She won this year’s El Encino Stakes (gr. II) and La Canada Stakes (gr. II) and last year’s Indiana Oaks (gr. II). She placed in the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) and the Chilukki Stakes (gr. II).
Always a Princess is a half sister to grade I winner Gabby's Golden Gal and to a Johannesburg filly that sold for $390,000 at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Florida March sale of 2–year-olds in training.
Martin Garcia, who rode Always a Princess in the Santa Margarita, was reported to be a bit sore following the fall but worked horses on the morning of March 13 and was expected to honor his riding commitments.