Paul Reddam's I'll Have Another, winner of the Santa Anita Derby and Robert Lewis Stakes, has been automatically placed on the vet's list in California after undergoing extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) on his back, which tightened up after his latest work.
ESWT is an increasingly popular treatment method for equine injuries. It is used in the treatment of a variety of ailments including tendons, ligaments, back pain, shins, tendonitis, joints, hock splints, and other areas. It can have a short-term analgesic affect, and therefore is not permitted within 10 days of racing in California.
"It's just a pulse that brings blood to an area," Reddam said. "The horse has absolutely nothing wrong with him. Doug [trainer Doug O'Neill] just did it because he could do it, and his owner will pay for it. He's just leaving no stone unturned. In California, you can't use it within 10 days of an upcoming race, so you have to report it and go on the vet's list.
"The horse worked six furlongs in 1:13 and change last Thursday [April 19] and Doug was doing a jig afterwards. Everything is going along like clockwork and he's going to work again on Friday and then ship to Kentucky on Saturday. After the Santa Anita Derby, Doug debated with himself whether to ship in early and work the horse at Churchill. He decided he wanted to be with him the whole time, so he'll leave on Friday and stay there until the Derby."
O'Neill said he decided to use shock wave therapy on I'll Have Another following his April 19 work.
"The next day he had a little tightness in his lumbar area where the saddle sits and I called Paul and he was OK with doing it," O'Neill said. "It seems to help him from a therapeutic standpoint; I have done it on him a couple times in the past and it seemed to help.
"It's really well regulated; they take your tattoo whenever it's done and the whole nine yards. It's expensive, but anything we can do to keep him in tip-top shape we are going to do. But he's doing great. It's nothing that was needed, but it's almost like a hyperbaric chamber treatment type of thing."
I'll Have Another, who was a $35,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders' Sales April 2-year-olds in training sale, has won three of his five career starts, including a second-place finish to Creative Cause in last year's Best Pal Stakes.
In the Santa Anita Derby, he won by a nose in hard-fought battle with Creative Cause, who will be his traveling companion to Kentucky.
-- Jason Shandler contributed to this story