Champion Vindication on Comeback Trail

Undefeated Vindication, last year's champion 2-year-old male, has returned to light training, according to his owners. Vindication, a son of Seattle Slew, has been walking under tack at the Padua Stables Training Center in Florida, and if he continues to progress well, should start jogging in two to three weeks.

Trainer Bob Baffert discovered a suspensory ligament injury after Vindication trained Feb. 4. Padua then sent him to Dr. Doug Herthel at the Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, California, where he underwent hyperbaric oxygen and stem-cell therapy.

"Vindication is ahead of schedule, and we could not be more delighted," Padua general manager Nadia Sanan said. "We believe the innovative therapies were of great benefit to him."

Vindication returned to the Padua Training Center in march, where racing manager Randy Bradshaw has overseen his recovery. "So far, the healing has been pretty miraculous," said Bradshaw. "The last time we looked, it was almost 90% healed, which is pretty quick for a suspensory injury."

No timetable has been set for Vindication's return to the races, but a trip to the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) under Baffert's tutelage is the ultimate goal. Vindication was a smashing winner in last autumn's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Arlington Park.