Special racehorses have grown on the public and their connections since the rise of the sport. Each owner, trainer, and groom has a horse that stands out to them in a unique way.
Whether it be their grit on the track or their antics off of it, these horses grow in our hearts.
Some of them may even be spoiled!
When it comes to William ‘Buff’ Bradley’s stable, these horses live the high life. The personal time he spends with his charges sets his stable apart from any other. Buff has trained several stars, including two time Breeders’ Cup Champion Groupie Doll, Brass Hat, and now The Player.
The Player perhaps may have the biggest personality of them all. Affectionately known as Angus, he spends his time while he isn’t training sleeping on his personalized pillow, or eating peppermints while he lays down. He loves visitors, especially his best friend Buff who spends every extra minute with him that he can. The two have developed such a close bond that it may be the difference that could save The Player’s life.
The Player is a multiple graded stakes winner that the racing public has quickly fallen in
love with. He has quickly established himself as a top horse in the midwestern circuit and was poised for a big 2018.
Last weekend he made his 3rd start of the year in the New Orleans Handicap as the betting favorite. He broke great and was hustled to the lead, going on to set the pace
before turning for home. He arrived at the five sixteenths point of the race when suddenly he was pulled up. The Player had taken a bad step.
After realizing something had gone wrong, Calvin Borel quickly dismounted The Player and began to wait for the equine ambulance. The screen was put up to shield him from the crowd as the ambulance personnel put a splint on his leg and he was loaded away. Buff supported him the whole way back to the barn to assess the injury.
Xrays were taken immediately and the barn, and revealed a catastrophic injury. The Player had two broken sesamoid bones in his right front leg–two bones that are vital in the structure of the limb. Mulling their options, it was decided that The Player would be transported to LSU where an advanced surgical team would try to put him back together.
The Player was taken into surgery on Monday morning to fix the fractures. The
complicated surgery took a total of 7 hours, with a plate and 16 metal screws placed in his right front to aide the bone. After a few hours of recuperating, he began to stand on his own. The Player walked around his stall bearing weight on all four of his legs, even pausing to beg for a few peppermints!
The doctors were very pleased with the first day and quickly fell in love with the big chestnut horse. Although not completely out of the woods yet, Buff and the team are cautiously optimistic about the future. A few days removed from his surgery and he has shown no setbacks and is moving quite well!
The battle going forward will be to relieve stress from his three other legs to decrease his chances of developing laminitis. As of Thursday morning, The Player is standing completely square and is very comfortable as he recovers. His vets are remarking how happy they are with his progress so far, and he is right on track.
Although he may never race again, Buff Bradley and fellow owner Carl Hurst only care about saving his life. So far he is exceeding expectations and has yet to lose his puppy-like personality. The Player has an incredible support team behind him and is ready to take on a battle that some horses could never conquer.
If any horse can pass such an important test, all of us racing fans alike are betting on The Player!
You can follow The Player’s progress on his Facebook page.
Follow Kaitlin Free on Twitter at @kaitlinefree
Featured image (top) by Averie Levanti with photos courtesy of Buff Bradley