Saturday, July 11, 2009

Indian Blessing Out of Princess Rooney

By Tracy Gantz

A treatment of procaine penicillin for an infected hind foot more than two weeks ago will keep Hal and Patti Earnhardt’s Indian Blessing out of the July 11 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) during Summit of Speed Saturday at Calder Race Course.

Trainer Bob Baffert said July 9 that two urine tests showed that the medication used to treat the champion filly had not cleared her system sufficiently to enable her to run.

“After her last race (the June 14 Desert Stormer Handicap at Hollywood Park) she nicked herself and got a little infection in a hind leg,” Baffert said. “We treated her aggressively with procaine penicillin because those infections in a hind leg can go up the hock and become very serious.”

Indian Blessing recovered completely and is training well, Baffert said. But because the treatment occurred 16 days before the Princess Rooney, he decided to test her as a precaution.

“Usually, it’s gone out of their system in 14 days,” Baffert said. “I didn’t want to take a chance, so I sent urine Monday (July 6) to (the University of California) Davis, and they checked it on Tuesday. It was still very high. Some horses, it just stays in their fatty tissues.”

Baffert said he sent another test July 8, and while the level had fallen, he said it wasn’t enough to ensure that Indian Blessing wouldn’t test above the allowable threshold level for procaine.

“I could have gone with a lesser antibiotic, but then what if the infection had gotten out of control?” said the disappointed trainer.

Baffert said he has not made any definite plans for Indian Blessing’s next race. He has nominated her for the July 18 A Gleam Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood, but doubted he would run her there. He also mentioned the Aug. 9 Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II) and the Aug. 29 Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga as possibilities.

Indian Blessing is a two-time Eclipse Award winner, having been named the 2007 champion 2-year-old filly and 2008 champion female sprinter. The Earnhardts bred the 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie --Shameful, by Flying Chevron, in Kentucky. She has won nine of 14 races, including five grade I stakes, and earned $2,841,520.

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