Ipi Tombe, left, winning the Locust Grove Handicap.

Ipi Tombe, left, winning the Locust Grove Handicap.

AP/Garry Jones

Ipi Tombe Out For Season With Leg Injury

By Kathleen Adams

A lingering leg injury will keep African-born turf sensation Ipi Tombe out of racing for the rest of the year.

Trainer Elliott Walden said the five-year-old mare initially wrapped her leg during a four-furlong breeze on the dirt at Churchill Downs several weeks ago.

"She's been training fine," he said. "On the race track you can't see a thing. She's moving beautifully."

But Walden explained that since that time, the Zimbabwean-bred horse, whose race record stands at 12-2-0 in 14 starts, has continued to have filling in the leg.

"Over the last couple of days it's become apparent that she just needs to rest to let that swelling go down," he said.

Walden originally took Ipi Tombe with him to Saratoga Springs to train for next month's International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park. But instead, the millionaire racehorse will undergo 30 days of hand walking, followed by 30 days of jogging before resuming a normal training schedule.

"Hopefully, she'll race a couple of times this winter at Gulfstream," Walden said.

Purchased last August by an American partnership that includes Team Valor, WinStar Farm and Sunmark Partners, the daughter of Manshood has pulled in earnings of $1,529,799.

"She's tough as nails," Team Valor president Barry Irwin said of the mare, which has racked up three victories against the boys. "I hope she comes back the same horse."

While clearly not happy over the setback, Irwin insisted it also wasn't a huge disappointment.

"I got to see her run in Dubai. I've gotten quite a bit of satisfaction from her already," he said.

Irwin said the plan right now is to have Ipi Tombe run two to three times this winter, and several more times during the spring. She won't be retired anytime soon.

"She'll only be five-and-a-half," Irwin said. "It's not like we're anxious to get a foal from her. We've gotten more interest in her than any other horse we've ever had. People call all the time and want to know if they can come by the barn and pet her."