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9-yr old The Tin Man, retired due to 'post-surgery' injury

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  • 9-yr old The Tin Man, retired due to 'post-surgery' injury

    In case folks didn't vist the Breeders' Cup thread, The Tin Man is deserving of his own thread and well wishes ... a damn shame with a relatively freak occurance.

    Daily Racing Form 10-31-07 6:38 pm

    Post-surgical injury ends The Tin Man's career

    ARCADIA, Calif. - The Tin Man, the 9-year-old multimillionaire, sustained a fractured knee in an accident after a surgical procedure on Oct. 25, and is in guarded condition at trainer Richard Mandella's Santa Anita stable, Mandella said on Wednesday.

    The Tin Man was recovering from exploratory surgery on an ankle when he sustained the injury, according to Mandella and veterinarian Jeff Blea.

    "Coming out of anesthesia, he had a difficult time and broke his knee," Mandella said. "He's got a serious fracture in his knee. We're not letting him move around."

    The injury means that The Tin Man has been retired from racing, Mandella said.

    "It's a sad deal," Mandella said. "Hopefully, it will work out. It's a serious fracture."

    Blea said horses rarely are injured after surgery.

    "It's one of the inherent risks of horses coming out of anesthesia," Blea said. "This is the second time I've seen it in 15 years. I think his chances of survival are good. It's quite severe, but he's comfortable.

    "He's made it this far. He's a good patient. Our job is to make sure that he's comfortable and make sure he lives his life to the fullest."

    The surgery was part of a battery of tests that The Tin Man underwent after Mandella and owners Ralph and Aury Todd decided to take the gelding out of training following a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship on Oct. 6. The Tin Man emerged from that race with body soreness. At the time, Mandella hoped that The Tin Man could return in 2008 and race as a 10-year-old.

    Mandella said that the tests revealed possible damage to an ankle, which resulted in the exploratory arthroscopic procedure.

    A winner of 13 of 31 starts, 8 stakes, and $3,663,780.
    At 9-years old his 2007 record: 4 1-3-0, which may seem so-so at first glance until you look at the caliber of races these were and how he barely lost those 3 second place races!

    10/06/07 $250K Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship S. (Grade 1): 2nd (lost by 1-length)
    08/11/07 $1M Arlington Million Stakes (Grade 1): took 2nd (lost by 3/4 length)
    06/30/07 $250K American Invitational Handicap (Grade 2): took 2nd (lost by a head)
    05/28/07 $300K Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile Stakes (Grade 1): won

    He matched John Henry's record of being the oldest horse to win a Grade 1 race and came within 3/4 of a length to matching John's record of two Arlington Million victories.

    All our best thoughts and wishes to The Tin Man for a safe recovery.

  • #2
    Pity they did not take him to Chino Valley Equine Hospital - they have a recovery pool there!


    • #3
      If they don't have to put him down, he'd make a nice resident at the KHP for his retirement, even if he did mostly race in California.
      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
      Thread killer Extraordinaire


      • #4
        Cheers to the old man, and here's to hoping for a comfortable and quick recovery.

        But I'm still crossing my fingers for a Dreamer-esque miracle, as unrealistic as it may be.
        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


        • #5
          Darn it all! Wow that's frustrating. I wonder what's up with the ankle, and if the fractured knee is on the same leg.

          Best wishes to the ole man for a full and uneventful recovery.


          • Original Poster

            From the BloodHorse's reporting on his retirement, more detail on "why" they did the exploratory surgery:

            Mandella explained that each year, he turns the Tin Man out for a couple months, before which he does a routine bone scan and takes X-rays to make sure the horse is sound.

            "(This time), he lit up in his left leg a little bit in the nuclear bone scan," said Mandella. "So we X-rayed it and it had just a little bit of roughening around a typical ankle chip area."

            Mandella said while there were no signs of a fracture, he feared there could be cartilage damage, so he scheduled a surgery to further examine the Tin Man.

            "There wasn't much in there--it was even cleaner than we thought it would be," said Mandella. "But he had a very difficult time coming out of the surgery and broke his knee pretty seriously. Believe me, we wish we had just never done anything."

            The Tin Man is currently stabled at Santa Anita Park near Mandella's office, where he is wearing a support bandage on his knee.

            "He's doing very well," said Mandella. "He's not in much pain."
            As to fixing the knee - that is more tricky not only the procedure but the high risk of a second injury when coming out from anethesia. Least we forget Ruffian destroyed her leg under the same circumstances.

            "As we understand, it's a very difficult place to operate to put a screw," said Mandella. "The difficulty of him even going down (under anesthesia) and trying to get him up again with losing support in that knee is dangerous. We're looking into all the things, but right now we're just keeping him restricted that he can't move around too much. I'm afraid that a bad move could put him in very big jeopardy. It's a very touchy situation--we're all holding our breath."

            Mandella added that the Tin Man's injuries could be life threatening if he experiences any further complications.

            "(The Tin Man) is like a very important part of the family--he's been with us for seven years and we love him dearly," said Mandella.
            For those who have seen or not, Richard Mandella's barn is featured in this documentary of which (a much younger) The Tin Man is featured as well: "On the Muscle - A year inside a Thoroughbred Stable" (released 2005)


            • #7
              oh, rats! jingles for the horse that would have been better named The Iron Man. What a great competitor. I do hope he pulls through.
              Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

              Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs


              • #8
                What bad news. How crap to manage to race until you're nine and then hurt yourself getting out of bed...
                Union Square Stables LLC


                • Original Poster

                  Currently, the injured knee is being stabilized with a bandage. Jeff Blea, D.V.M., said a splint could be applied to reduce stress on the injury.

                  “Right now he is comfortably standing on all four legs,” Blea said. “He is wearing a Robert Jones bandage [a heavy multilayered bandage]. The splint is something we’ll consider, but not all horses tolerate it. We’ll see.”

                  The current plan is to allow The Tin Man to rest in the stable while closely monitoring his recovery. Blea is contacting the nation’s top veterinary surgeons to see what kind of surgery could be an option for the injury, which includes a fractured intermediate carpal bone and fractured ulnar carpal bone.

                  Blea said the extent of The Tin Man knee injury is rare.

                  “People have not seen an injury like this before,” he said.

                  The Tin Man has settled well at the stable and has enjoyed his usual amount of attention as a barn favorite.

                  “On Saturday, he was under a lot of stress, but he is feeling better now,” Blea said. “He’s happy and standing well. He’s a model patient.”
                  Source: TB Times 11-01-07 "The Tin Man retired after post-surgery injury"

                  I assume they are now approaching UPENN's New Bolton and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine after having approached UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.


                  • #10
                    Darn, that's bad... real bad.

                    He's going to need a lot of positive vibes his way. At least he's a smart old boy and taking it easy on himself. That's half the battle.
                    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                    • #11

                      The ponies and I are sending loud jingles to him and his connections!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                      • #12
                        Too bad, and yes, after all that racing, just a freak accident, of all things. Wasn't there a jockey once who was a jockey for decades and then hurt himself badly playing with his kids after he retired from jockeying? Seems I might have read that years ago. Best wishes to the old boy. I do think he would do well at the KHP, if he heals up satisfactorily.


                        • #13
                          Oh no! I hope he heals up okay. I've been really impressed by him.
                          The Little Red Mare: French Curve

                          and my non-horse blog: oh, rebecca!


                          • #14
                            There was a "Special Report" on HRTV today. They interviewed Mandella right in front of The Tin Man's stall, with The Tin Man in it. I tell you what, it was the cutest thing. TTM did not look like anything was wrong. Bright eyed and just like a pet. First, he pushes his nose accross Mandella and sniffs out the microphone, blowing into it (which was really funny). Then he scratches his head on Mandella's shoulder, then he eats, then he slightly nibbles on the coat, a little here, a little there. He grabs some hay, then he pushes Mandella almost into the reporter. It was really cute.

                            Mandella said, with a smile, "as you can see he doesn't appear to be in any pain" and "continues to be the spoiled pet that he is" and at the end he said "The Tin Man is the guest of honor at the Mandella barn.

                            He is in his stall at the track. The reason for this is that TTM is more confortable in that environment and that is what they wanted. And he was tied up.

                            He looked great on the camera, just great. So wonderful to see. I never would've thought a champ like that would be so adorable.


                            • #15


                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by miss_critic View Post
                                Thanks for providing that link! He looks to be doing quite well all things considered.

                                Per Richard Mandella:

                                "He's a great patient," Mandella said. "He's standing in a stall next to my office, and the only time he's upset is if he doesn't get quite enough attention. He's amazingly sound for having a fracture, and he's doing very well.

                                "We have to hope he keeps going the right way," the Hall of Famer cautioned.
                                Source: Brisnet 11-2


                                • #17
                                  any more updates..i have been out of the loop for a couple of weeks


                                  • Original Poster

                                    This was spied in a Del Mar-area newspaper in the last few days:

                                    The son of Affirmed is still stabled at Mandella's Santa Anita barn and is expected to need two months of stall rest before he can move about freely.


                                    • #19
                                      Is he not allowed to lie down? Any fear of laminitis if he cannot get off his feet?
                                      "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
                                      Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

                                      "Silence is golden...and duct tape is silver."


                                      • #20
                                        Some encouraging news in "Thoroughbred Daily News" this morning:

                                        Richard Mandella trainee The Tin Man (Affirmed), who
                                        suffered a fractured knee when recovering from anaesthesia
                                        after exploratory surgery at the
                                        end of October, is on the mend at
                                        Santa Anita, Daily Racing Form reports.
                                        "He's getting better all the
                                        time," the Hall of Famer told DRF.
                                        "We've got him walking short walks a
                                        couple of times a day. We're doing
                                        very little, and it seems to be helping."
                                        Mandella added, "He's sounder
                                        and happier every week. We X-ray
                                        him every week and it shows knitting
                                        every week." The nine-year-old, winner
                                        of the GI Shoemaker Mile in his
                                        May 28 seasonal debut, ran second in the GI Clement
                                        L. Hirsch Turf Championship Oct. 6 at Oak Tree in what
                                        would be his final career start. Ralph and Aury Todd's
                                        homebred retired with earnings of $3,663,780.