Moments after Jereme’s Jet stood in the winner’s circle after capturing the $575,400 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colts & Geldings Pace, Saturday night’s ninth race at the Meadowlands, came the first official word that he nearly did not make the race at all.
Joe Frasure, assistant to trainer Tom Harmer, included a big thank you to Dr. Patty Hogan of the New Jersey Equine Clinic in Clarksburg, New Jersey, in his post race comments.
“Friday morning his hock was as big as his head and his ankle was blown up,” Frasure revealed. “We spent three hours at the clinic [New Jersey Equine Clinic] on Friday morning. They took an x-ray, and it came out negative. Dr. Hogan drained him [the hock] and bandaged him up. I took the bandages off this morning, hosed him for two hours and it was perfect. We were 50-50 to race him.”
Remarkably, on Saturday night, the two-year-old pacing colt would win the seventh of eight $4.3 million Breeders Crown Finals. He concluded his 2005 campaign with his sixth win in seven starts this year and boosted his earnings to more than $1 million for the Genesis Racing Stable of Plainfield, Illinois.
Dr. Hogan, who achieved considerable national fame for her care of Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones, obtained permission from Harmer to share the story of how Jereme’s Jet made it to the races on Saturday night.
“Apparently the horse was found early Friday morning in the stall with his left hock terribly swollen, and he could not put weight on it,” Dr. Hogan said. “He was perfectly fine the day before. It appeared as though he may have gotten cast in the stall during the night and injured himself. Dr. Jim Mitchell first attended to the colt and was afraid that he had incurred a fracture so he called me early and asked if they could send the horse right over.
“When he arrived, his left hock was severely swollen and he was very lame at the walk,” she explained. “The left hind ankle had some swelling as well but not as big as the hock - it was huge. I noticed a small abrasion or break in the skin along the inner surface of the hock. We took many digital x-rays of the hock and ankle to rule out any injury to the bone. The films were normal.
“I then took a sample of fluid from the hock - it was under a lot of pressure -- and I drained all of it out,” Dr. Hogan noted. “I injected it with a very strong antibiotic at the same time, and we wrapped his leg in a bandage from stifle to foot. The joint fluid had significant elevations in white blood cells and protein - both indicators of an early infection coming on. Examination of the fluid under the microscope confirmed the presence of bacteria inside the hock. The colt was treated with a very strong IV [intravenous] antibiotic and another dose was given orally later that evening before going to the detention barn.
“Everyone involved with the colt certainly expected the horse to be scratched from the race,” she said. “But we took everything one step at time and let the colt tell us if he was able to go on. It is a little difficult to treat something like this within the confines of 24 hours prior to a race because you are limited in the type of drugs that can be used. For instance, we could not tranquilize him to x-ray and obtain fluid from the hock. Fortunately, the colt was amazingly well-mannered and stood perfectly for the procedures. I was able to classify the type of bacteria present in the hock by examining the fluid under the microscope and then and treat him with the most effective drugs - both intravenously and in the joint itself.
“We all agreed to send the colt to the detention barn if he was walking soundly by the afternoon,” she continued. “And then that if we made it that far, but the hock was not dramatically improved in appearance the morning of the race, we would scratch. I spoke to Joe [Frasure] early Saturday morning, and he was ecstatic -- the hock had come down to normal and the colt was sound. Joe cold-water hosed it for two hours Saturday, and then he was wrapped up again until his warm-up for the race. The colt warmed up completely sound and the rest is history!”
Dr. Hogan, a horse owner and wife of trainer Ed Lohemeyer, has cared for a who’s who of the equine world * both thoroughbreds and standardbreds.
“[Jereme’s Jet is] a very impressive colt; no doubt but we got very lucky,” she added. “They attended to the problem right away, and we were very aggressive with administering the correct antibiotics and supportive care. The colt returned to the clinic this morning, and I re-examined him and gave him his dose of IV antibiotic. He was sound and the hock was only mildly swollen. An evaluation of the fluid showed that it was well on its way to getting back to normal. Some antibiotic was placed inside the joint again, and I think he will be fine.
“So that's the story,” Dr. Hogan concluded. “He was so close to never making the race. I am very excited for them and proud to have played a small role in the story!”