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Bowed Tendon Perils A&L’s Racing Future

Daily News
May 18, 1970


Inglewood, CA, May 17 (AP)--The racing career of the great chestnut colt Arts and Letters, named Horse of the Year in 1969, may be over. The 4-year-old star of Paul Mellon’s Rokeby stable turned up lame after running sixth with Braulio Baeza aboard in the $110,000 Californian at Hollywood Park Saturday.

It was announced today that the colt had suffered an injury to the suspensory ligament of his left foreleg.

“The inside branch of the left suspensory tendon is bowed,” said Dr. Jack Robbins after examing X-rays. “This is not as serious as a bowed flexor tendon but I would say the prognosis for his future as a race horse is not good.”

“It’s just one of those things,” the veterinarian said. “It’s hard to say when it happened. He stumbled at the break and it very likely could have happened then.”

The colt had shot to more than a half-million dollars in winnings last year, claiming some of the biggest racing stakes, and gained fame with an upset in the Belmont Stakes.

The case of Arts and Letters is ironically dramatic. Last June the colt won the Belmont and wrecked the hopes of Majestic Prince, who had won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and was shooting to become the first Triple Crown winner since Citation in 1948.

Majestic Prince was owned by Frank McMahon and trained by Johnny Longden and the colt, unbeaten before, sustained injuries in the Belmont and never raced again.

In the Californian, Longden saddled the McMahon-owned horse Baffle, and the five-year-old won, gaining revenge for the Majestic Prince handlers.

The Virginia-bred Arts and Letters had won a lifetime total of $632,404 going into Saturday’s race, $555,604 as the nation’s leading three-year-old last year. He closed out 1969 with victories in six big stakes, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup in New York.

The handsome chestnut colt lost his first start in 1970 but came here after winning the Grey Lag Handicap in New York. He was odds-on choice to win the Californian but ran no better than sixth in a field of eight the entire 1 1/16th miles.

The horse probably will be flown back to its New York home tomorrow.

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