USA: A traumatic week for legendary trainer Bob Baffert took a drastic turn for the worse on Thursday with news that leading Kentucky Derby contender Nadal has been retired with a leg fracture.
Part-owner George Bolton told the Blood-Horse the unbeaten son of Blame had been diagnosed with lateral condylar fracture of his near-foreleg after working a half-mile at Santa Anita on Thursday morning.
Nadal, who was being targeted for the rearranged Belmont Stakes on June 20, had surgery at Santa Anita’s equine hospital. “It requires two screws,” the owner told the Blood-Horse.
“He is now going to become a stallion. It’s very sad, obviously. I just got the call this morning. It’s a call you never want to get in horse racing.
“He retires undefeated. He retires, thank God, on a soon-to-be recovery. He gave us four great races.”
Nadal had extended his winning streak to four out of four – three of them Graded stakes – with a powerful victory in Div II of the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on May 2.
Reports earlier this week claimed that the Baffert-trained Charlatan, ante-post favourite for the Kentucky Derby with British bookmakers, had returned a positive initial test after winning Div I of the same race. Baffert’s highly rated filly Gamine was also said to have tested positive on the same card.
The trainer, who lambasted the apparent lack of confidentiality over the issue, is awaiting news of a second test. If it is negative, then there will be no change to the Arkansas results.
Baffert reported that Nadal’s surgery had gone well. “It’s just a shame with the Derby dreams,” he added.
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