Geaux Rocket Ride suffers serious injury at Santa Anita before Breeders' Cup

In this image provided by Benoit Photo, Pin Oak Stud's Geaux Rocket Ride, ridden by Ramon Vazquez, cruises to victory in the $100,000 Affirmed Stakes horse race, Sunday, June 4, 2023 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, Calif. Breeders' Cup Classic contender Geaux Rocket Ride was injured during a workout Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, at Santa Anita. The 3-year-old colt appeared to stumble in mid-stretch and was pulled up by Mike Smith, the Hall of Fame jockey. He jumped off and held Geaux Rocket Ride's right front leg until help arrived. (Benoit Photo via AP)
Pin Oak Stud's Geaux Rocket Ride, ridden by Ramon Vazquez, cruises to victory in the $100,000 Affirmed Stakes horse race on June 4 at Santa Anita Park. Breeders' Cup Classic contender Geaux Rocket Ride was injured during a workout Saturday. (Benoit Photo / Associated Press)

Geaux Rocket Ride, considered one of the top horses in the $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 4, suffered a serious injury while working at Santa Anita on Saturday. The 3-year-old colt was working out when he suffered an “open condylar fracture with intersesmoidian ligament damage” to his right front leg, according to the Breeders’ Cup.

He was vanned off the track and taken to the backstretch equine hospital at Santa Anita, where he was evaluated. He was then taken to his barn, where he will stay overnight before undergoing surgery on Sunday. A horse being taken to their barn is neither a positive nor negative indication of the severity of the injury but the first step in stabilizing the horse and hydrating them if surgery were to be performed. In this case, the surgery is scheduled for Sunday.

The “open” part of the diagnosis means that the fracture broke through the skin, a very serious injury. The diagnosis also noted that the ligaments have been stretched.

Trainer Richard Mandella told the Daily Racing Form that “It’s going to be a very delicate situation, it’s going to be lucky to make it, but we’re going to do everything we can.”

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If Geaux Rocket Ride survives the injury, his racing career will be over. A procedure called arthrodesis will be attempted, which essentially makes the affected area immobile, much like if you were to put a permanent splint or cast on a person. He would be able to do trail riding and other light activity and, depending on the severity, could even go to stallion duty.

It was the second training incident since horses started to arrive at Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup. On Oct. 13, Echo Zulu, a champion 4-year-old filly, suffered a career-ending injury and underwent arthrodesis surgery and is doing well two weeks after the surgery, according to the surgeon, Dr. Ryan Carpenter.

Geaux Rocket Ride has won three of five lifetime races with two second-place finishes. He qualified for the Classic with a win in the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth in July. He was second in his last race in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

The colt was supposed to do a seven-furlong workout on Friday but it was called off because Mandella said his feet were a little tender.

The 40th Breeders’ Cup will be held Friday and Nov. 4.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.