Stakes-placed Ballado Chieftan, a promising 3-year-old trained by Nick Zito, was seriously injured in a Saturday training mishap at Churchill Downs and was scheduled for surgery later in the day.
The colt was completing an easy half-mile workout over a "fast" track under exercise rider Carlos Correa and was near the finish line when he fractured both sesamoids in his right front ankle. Ballado Chieftan was transported by equine ambulance back to Zito's barn, where the injured leg was stabilized by veterinarian Dr. Foster Northrop. The colt was scheduled to travel later in the morning to Lexington's Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, where equine surgeon Dr. Larry Bramlage was to perform surgery on the injured ankle. The surgery is scheduled for Monday.Owned by My Meadowview Farm and Joseph Cornacchia, Ballado Chieftan was runner-up to Clock Stopper in the $100,000 Perryville Stakes at Keeneland. He broke his maiden on his fourth try in his previous start at Belmont Park. Zito had planned to enter the colt in a Thursday allowance race at Churchill Downs.
Ballado Chieftan had displayed such promise and improvement in recent weeks that Zito was considering a run by the colt in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct if he ran well in Thursday's race.
"It's a tiresome game sometimes and this is the hardest part," said Zito. "As I've said, it's a game that will humble kings."
Ballado Chieftan, who is out of the Woodman mare Flaming Mirage, was bred in Kentucky by Marvin Little, Jr. His race record stands at 1-2-0 in five outings with earnings of $58,260.