A team of equine surgeons fused together the fetlock of Hajji's Treasure's right foreleg Sunday morning, but a veterinarian at Pimlico Race Course still gave the 3-year-old colt only a slight chance of surviving.
Hajji's Treasure, the winner of this year's California Derby at Golden Gate Fields and a longshot in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, broke down coming out of the first turn in the Preakness and had to be removed from the track in an ambulance. He suffered fractures to both sesamoids in his right leg and torn ligaments.
"The horse recovered fine from the surgery," Pimlico veterinarian Robert Vallance reported. "But in cases similar to this, the survival rate is only 10 to 20%."
Sunday's surgery was done at the New Bolton Center of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine near Philadelphia.
"The horse is in a stable condition," a New Bolton spokesman said. "The prognosis for survival is guarded. It may take several months to evaluate the horse's condition."
Vallance said it was fortunate that Hajji's Treasure did not bleed externally after his leg buckled. He did, however, bleed internally. When the undefeated filly Ruffian broke down in the match race against Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure at Belmont Park in 1975, she suffered heavy external bleeding and couldn't be saved.
Hajji's Treasure, who hadn't been nominated for the Preakness, cost his owner, Stan Hodge of Pleasanton, a supplementary fee of $20,000 to run in the race. Hodge bought Hajji's Treasure for $9,200 as a yearling and the California-bred increased his career earnings to $181,430 with the win in the California Derby.