LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Racing plans for Triple Crown winner Justify are on hold as the champion thoroughbred is headed for a medical examination.
"Justify had some filling in his left front ankle a week ago, which subsided in a couple days," trainer Bob Baffert said. "I trained him last week and the filling came back. We want to get him checked out."
"Filling" is the term used for swelling or inflammation. Until there is a diagnosis, what the apparent injury could mean to Justify's continued racing career is anyone's guess right now.
It raises questions about the star horse's possible return to Churchill Downs to race in the Breeders Cup in November.
The news is reminiscent of Justify's brief bout with lameness immediately after the Derby. He was limping and favoring a back hoof, but it turned out to be minor.
This time, the filling, or inflammation, could turn out to be any number of things. Equine Veterinarian Foster Northrop said x-rays and ultrasounds are likely in Justify's future as doctors search for the problem.
The outcomes could range from an injury that is minor to something that is career ending.
"It could just be a sprained ankle," Northrop said. "It could indicate that a chip is about to come off the bone or has come off the bone."
"He is too special to the owners, our team, and all the fans he has around the world to not be 100% healthy," WinStar Farm President Elliott Walden said. "As far as any future plans for him, they will be decided after we get him checked out."