Trainer Tim Ritchey said Saturday morning from his barn at Belmont Park that Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex is likely to arrive at Saratoga Race Course with nine stablemates as early as Friday, Aug. 5.
The leading Horse of the Year candidate will come to back Saratoga, where he won the Sanford (gr. II) and Hopeful (gr. I) last year, to recuperate from a hairline condylar fracture in his left-front leg, at the bottom of the cannon bone, and train for the fall racing season.
"Since I'm bringing nine horses to Saratoga, I wanted Afleet Alex to come along," Ritchey said. "I really don't want to leave him alone at Belmont. I want him to be here with me so I can monitor his progress every day."
Ritchey also said after being in Saratoga for 7-10 days, he plans to bring Afleet Alex out of his stall for walks.
"We'll start hand-walking him around the stall," he said. "About a week after that, I'm hoping to have someone on his back and walk around the barn. If everything continues to go well, he'll be on the track training and walking around the paddock."Afleet Alex was originally scheduled to run in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park next Sunday before considering the $1 million, Grade 1 Travers - "The Mid-Summer Derby" and the marquee race of the Saratoga meet - on August 27.Ritchey discovered the fracture after the colt cooled out on Tuesday and immediately sent him to the New Jersey Equine Clinic where Dr. Patty Hogan, with Dr. Larry Bramlage serving as a consultant, conducted the surgical procedure by inserting a single screw the following day.
"He's really doing well," Ritchey said. "I'm really looking forward to having him back in training."