"Bodemeister has a peripheral nerve injury which caused atrophy of the infraspinatus muscle in his left shoulder," said Dr. Larry Bramlage, specialist from Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. "Obviously, this made us look at something unusual, rather than a normal lameness. His legs are perfect, but he was clinical when jogging to the left. After ruling out neck issues with X- rays and a myelogram, we feel confident in the diagnosis. It will take approximately 60 days to heal."
The colt, owned by Zayat Stables and Mike & Tiffany Moreno, has been retired to stud at WinStar Farm and has begun treatment with a full recovery expected.
"The positive thing is that we now know what the issue is and it's treatable. Bodemeister will be back to full health," said Elliott Walden, President & CEO at WinStar. "Unfortunately, he would not be able to come back as a racehorse in time to make any of the year-end goals such as the Breeders' Cup, so Mr. Zayat, Mr. Moreno and myself came to the conclusion that it was best to retire him. With his raw speed, four Beyers over 100, Empire Maker killing it, and his good looks, we think Bodemeister is the best stallion prospect this year, and we're looking ahead to what we believe will be an exciting future at stud for Bodemeister."
Last week Bodemeister was sent to WinStar from trainer Bob Baffert's Del Mar barn for a physical examination by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. The trainer believes the colt suffered the injury at Del Mar a couple of weeks ago after stumbling during training.
"He was just never quite right after that and we couldn't figure out what was going on with him," said Baffert. "It's extremely unfortunate. We wanted to win the Breeders' Cup with him."
Plans are for Bodemeister to be available for inspection by breeders after rehabilitating at WinStar through mid-October.
"You must always put the horse first, and it is in Bodemeister's best interest to retire at this time," said owner Ahmed Zayat. "The sportsman in me is very disappointed, because the sky was the limit for his racing career. He is the most brilliant horse that I've had the privilege of owning, and my family and I will miss him thrilling us in the afternoons. But every end is a new beginning, and we'll now look forward with great anticipation to racing little Bodes in the future."
Bodemeister won the Arkansas Derby by 9 1/2 lengths before setting the pace in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Both times he was caught nearing the wire by I'll Have Another, who posted wins of 1 1/2 lengths and a neck, respectively.
"Bodemeister gave me and my family the thrill of a lifetime in the Classics this year," Mike Moreno noted. "I decided to invest in him prior to the Derby because of his exquisite talent and pedigree, and although this injury kept us from fulfilling all of our dreams on the track, I look forward to supporting him in his next career."
The colt finishes his racing career with $1,304,800 in six starts with two wins and four seconds.