Shagaf was one of the ‘horses to watch’ heading into the Kentucky Derby. Kentucky Derby fans ‘watched him’ alright–watched him get eased up and finish dead last in the twenty horse field. Now it seems there may have been a reason for his struggles in the Derby and the Wood Memorial before that. On Thursday, Shagaf underwent surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital to remove bone chips in his left knee and left front ankle.
Under trainer Chad Brown, things looked good for Shagaf early in the year which included a win in the Grade Three Gotham Stakes. He was one of the favorites in the Wood Memorial but he didn’t run well on a wet track and finished a troubled fifth. His connections hoped that the wet surface was the cause of his troubles and pointed him to the Kentucky Derby despite his poor showing. Thursday’s surgery was performed by Dr. Alan Ruggles at Kentucky’s Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. Ruggles was very pleased with the outcome of the surgery and there’s every expectation that he’ll be able to return to racing as a four year old according to Rick Nichols, Vice President/General Manager of ownership group Shadwell Stables: “He was very pleased with the surgery and how the horse came out,” Nichols said. “He’s going to need three months. He feels like he’ll be able to return to a high level of racing. We think he’ll make a really nice 4-year-old.” Shagaf will be transported from the equine hospital to Shadwell Farm on Saturday where he’ll spend the next few months recuperating.
Shadwell Stable’s other Kentucky Derby runner is in better shape. Mohaymen was the early year Kentucky Derby favorite until soundly beaten by eventual race winner Nyquist in the Florida Derby. He was examined at Rood & Riddle and given a clean bill of health. The plan for the rest of 2016 is for Mohaymen to skip the Triple Crown races and point to several big events later in the Summer including the Jim Dandy and Travers Stakes at Saratoga. For now, Mohaymen will get several weeks of rest at Shadwell Farm.