California Chrome is currently the best racehorse in the world. After he missed out on the first position at Belmont in 2014, many had thought that that would be the end of his career. But he is back with a vengeance now. The total earnings of his career are $13.4 million which is the highest any race horse has won in the history of racing in North America.
How did this transformation take place? It is a miraculous story. From before July 2015, Chrome was believed to be in ill health. Moreover, he had lost 150 pounds at the very least. Nobody knew what the matter was. There were no outward signs of sickness. Nevertheless, his health kept deteriorating.
What brought the matter to the fore was a visit to the vet. Chrome’s owners had already decided to sell him. Before the sale was to be made they decided to schedule a medical examination for Chrome. Dr. James Gilman, a vet based in Arlington was asked to take a look at him. Chrome had already been diagnosed with a foot problem in England, in 2015. This time Dr. Gilman examined Chrome and came to the conclusion that it was not the horse’s foot that was the problem but his ankles. X-rays of his lower limbs revealed that he was suffering from inflammatory bone disease.
This disease had affected all four of his ankles but was most pronounced in his two forelegs. This disease is known to affect the part where the long bone of a horse’s leg meets the ankle and is caused by too much pressure. The pain and the swelling incapacitates a horse. More often than not, horses that go through rigorous training and racing schedules without enough rest, suffer from inflammatory bone disease. In such animals bone growth occurs in the lower limbs to support the added pressure. In order for the bone growth to be effective, sufficient blood supply is essential. Horses that race and train non-stop do not have the luxury of resting. Hence, their vulnerability to this particular disease.
With his grueling racing and training regimen since 2013, Chrome needed to rest. He needed to loll and graze in green pastures. According to Dr. Gilman, Chrome was in considerable pain throughout the day. To combat this situation and complying with his doctor’s orders, the 2015 Arlington Million was canceled. He was ordered complete rest for three months at least, in a farm where he could roam and graze freely. There was to be no training or racing for Chrome for all of that time. This, the vet said, could help Chrome regain his health and his position as a racehorse.
The stud was given a 10-day course of Butazolidin which was an anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal drug and a course of aspirin for blood circulation. He was depressed in the beginning of the treatment. But after about a month he started to revive. Today he is a healthier horse with all his weight and muscle. He is older, stronger, and faster. California Chrome has risen from his ashes, as it were, and come back to rule the racetrack.