Blue Grass winner Irap underwent a three-hour surgery on Monday at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., to repair his left front leg, which was injured during the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Saturday. Irap finished second to West Coast in the $1 million race and then was pulled up after nearing the gallop-out turn by jockey Mario Gutierrez.
Irap fractured the sesamoids in his left front ankle. He was stabilized with a splint on the track and vanned back to his stall. According to trainer Doug O'Neill, Irap was able to rest comfortably Saturday night and then was vanned to the New Bolton Center Sunday morning.
Equine surgeon Dean Richardson performed the Monday morning procedure while being assisted by Ryan Carpenter of the Equine Medical Center in Cypress, Calif., near Los Alamitos. Richardson is the same veterinarian who treated Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro after he broke down in a hind leg after the start of the 2006 Preakness.
According to O'Neill, Irap's surgery consisted of fusing the ankle and putting in metal plates to stabilize the injured area. O'Neill said Irap woke up in a recovery pool after the operation and that Richardson told him Irap had a "flawless recovery and walked comfortably back to his stall."
Irap faces a lengthy recovery and will be closely monitored for any signs of infection or laminitis.
"Dr. Richardson told me it was a typical surgery and they were very happy with how it went," O'Neill said. "Having said that, the next few weeks are crucial."
Irap will remain at the New Bolton Center until he is well enough to travel.
"If everything goes well, he will stay there for two to four weeks and then hopefully we can fly him back home to California," O'Neill said.
A strapping son of Tiznow, Irap won a pair of Grade 3 stakes this year, the Ohio and Indiana derbies, in addition to the Grade 2 Blue Grass. He was third in the Grade 1 Travers in his start prior to the Pennsylvania Derby.
Irap was unhurried early in the Pennsylvania Derby, and then launched a four-wide bid nearing the stretch. He ducked inward sharply in upper stretch before being straightened by Gutierrez, but it is unclear at what point in the race he was injured.
"We've been talking about what happened and we just don't know exactly," O'Neill said. "He was doing great coming into the race. He tried so hard."