The Waiting Room

Even if you started your day knowing absolutely nothing about laminitis, you wouldn’t need to go deep into the Blood-Horse’s story about Lady Eli to find out that it’s bad. Here’s a quote from one of the 3-year-old filly’s co-owners, Jay Hanley of Sheep Pond Partners.

“It’s horrifying and disheartening. If you’re an optimist, you’d say she’ll race again. If you’re a pessimist, she could be battling for her life.”

There’s no need to handicap such a prognosis. Being able to still run if she is lucky but facing euthanasia if she’s not is bad enough. Venturing into the “Comments” section, a risky business on any website but especially so with a story like this, feels like entering an intensive care waiting room. An online prayer circle is haloing the filly, who is almost certainly battling for her life right now regardless of where you fall on optimism and pessimism.

This blogger’s knowledge about laminitis is neither wide nor deep, but when has that ever stopped us? Even with some recent positive results, the dreaded hoof disease still seems to swing closer to incurable than curable. Whatever is working in equine medicine these days, we hope it takes. This ridiculously entertaining filly, whose perfect 6-for-6 record includes a few races where turf course traffic caused her some trouble that she blithely overcame, needs one more big win.

Lady Eli has a lot of love going for her, as evidenced by this photo posted on Twitter by Cherie DeVaux, an assistant to the filly’s trainer, Chad Brown.

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Ms. DeVaux, who in a subsequent tweet copped to being the nose kisser, also informed that Lady Eli does not appreciate being the recipient of public displays of affection. Given the circumstances, Ms. DeVaux gets an allowance for insisting.

So we wait. Right now the American racing scene seems to be all about waiting. Will Lady Eli survive? Will American Pharoah make it all the way to the Breeders’ Cup Classic? Will California Chrome ever race again? Will all our waiting be in vain?

To all those praying for Lady Eli, keep it up. Contrary to the Jim Morrison lyric, you can petition the lord with prayer: It just might not take. This is why racing’s wise old heads tell you not to fall in love. Lennon and McCartney said it was all you need. But as Joy Division noted, it can also tear us apart.

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