Dance With Fate, the 3-year-old colt who won the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes this spring and was scheduled to start this Saturday as the likely favorite against older horses in the San Diego Handicap, was injured during a morning gallop early today at Del Mar.
The son of Two Step Salsa was on the track at approximately 5:30 nearing the far turn when he suddenly bolted to the outside fence and crashed into it, falling hard and losing exercise rider Joe Durant.
The horse was removed from the track by ambulance and returned to trainer Peter Eurton’s Barn X on the Del Mar backstretch where he was attended to by veterinarians for an apparent injury to his right rear leg. Durant was taken by ambulance to Scripps La Jolla Hospital with unknown injuries.
“I don’t know exactly how it happened or why,” said Eurton. “He tore some ligaments pretty severely in behind (right rear leg). We’ve taken X-rays and they’ve been sent to Dr. (C. Wayne) McIlwraith for evaluation. We are still searching for a way to go here. We will explore all possibilities. We are not giving up until we run out of options.”
McIlwraith is considered one of the foremost equine orthopedic surgeons in the world. He works out of Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
Dance With Fate had been in training at Santa Anita and Del Mar since an abortive attempt at running in the $1.25-million Belmont Derby July 5 at Belmont Park in New York. The colt suffered a bout of colic on the eve of that race and was scratched from the mile and one-quarter. Subsequently, he registered a bullet five-furlong drill at Del Mar July 19 in :58 2/5.
The striking, dark bay or brown colt had scored his initial win at Del Mar last summer, then finished a fast-closing second in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity. He was subsequently stakes placed on two other occasions prior to capturing the Blue Grass at Keeneland April 12. He followed up that effort with a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby won by California Chrome, which was his most recent outing.
In nine starts, Dance With Fate shows three wins, three seconds and earnings of $680,050.