They said it was hot yesterday after his gallop. They (owner/trainer) talked it over and decided to poltice it and not make a big deal about it yesterday. It was not swollen this morning, it was cool so they took him for a jog and gallop at 5:30.. He seemed to be fine back to the barn, but said it showed some slight swelling and was hot again. Talked it over again and had the vet come out and ultrasound it. There was an "issue" with the tendon that showed up on ultrasound.Then they talked over the phone to Rood and Riddle vet. That vet recommended not running him.
It was talked about 4-6 months of healing, with NO guarantee of a sound horse. So, they decided to retire him.
The vet, actually two vets, said it was NOT a bowed tendon,therefore swelling was not noticeable like if it was bowed.
I also saw the video of him on the grass. No, the tendon injury was not noticeable, but since you CJ, can't see inside, why can't you believe the injury exists? I have seen many many SOFT tissue injuries that show nothing from the outside, but can be seen on ultrasound.No swelling, no nothing except issues show up on ultrasound.
Maybe it does sound "fishy" to you, BUT, what would have happened if they went ahead and raced him tomorrow and he broke down and had a catastrophic injury because the tendon ruptured.If O'Neil and the owner decided "what the heck" lets make some money and race him anyway to keep everyone happy and he had broken down and possibly died, then everyone would have trashed O'Neil for that. Instead he is being trashed for not running an unsound horse. Heck, even if IHA had come in 2 or 3, the money would have been alot.
Now, they will retire him a whole horse and he will go to stud. He can be insured for stallion duty and move on.
Like lots of the horse trainers/people/newcasters all said: if IHA had been a claimer worth nothing, heal him up and race him more. Nothing to lose. However, running a horse with a slight injury could be deadly and alot to lose. Since he was not insured for what his value is as a race horse, why take that chance.
Its awful he is not running. Makes me sad. But, I believe the injury is real. Actually, a person I know has a friend at Belmont now and watched IHA come back from his warm up. He was not 100% in their eyes and some say he has not been 100% for a few days. Maybe O'Neil tried to hide anythiing going on with the horse to not create exactly what has happened. Kaos...
One last thing, O'Neil is on probation in CA for 45 days, yet if you read the accounts of the hearing, there was no proof of any of the charges, yet they suspended him. I don't believe he is a bad trainer, and I doubt that there are very many trainers who have not "pushed" the line for winning.