American Lion Battles Back From Pneumonia, Finds Second Career With Help From Hagyard, New Vocations, Four Star

For six years, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute and Hagyard Pharmacy have been strong supporters of the New Vocations mission – to stand in the gap for noncompetitive, often injured racehorses, and provide a skilled, loving transition to a brighter future. Typically, that support has come in providing veterinary care, pharmaceuticals and supplements to get the horses back on their feet from varying levels of injury or health.

But for American Lion, a 23-1 odds midfield finisher in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, Hagyard took their support to another level.

American Lion had entered Four Star’s consignment for the 2018 Keeneland November Sale when he fell sick.

“He came in with a little bit of a temperature, which is not unusual for horses shipping a distance, but very soon he was going downhill very rapidly,” recalled Tony Lacy of Four Star in a January 14, 2019 Thoroughbred Daily News article. “We called Hagyard [Equine Medical Institute], and Luke Fallon and his staff came out. The horse had severe pneumonia, with some really significant side-effects. We knew, at that point, we had to get the horse into the hospital. He was very ill, very quickly. The conversation was no longer will the horse be able to return to the sale. It was basically ‘Will he make it?’”

The staff at the barn was very concerned. How American Lion carried himself and his demeanor made quite an impression on the team at Four Star, so taking care of him became a combined effort from the entire crew. The Hagyard team came together as well, with Dr. Barry David taking primary care in conjunction with Dr. Fallon.

After five days, the treatment, care, and concern began to bring American Lion back around. At that point, the focus happily changed from “Would he make it?” to “What’s next?” WinStar Farm took him in for recuperation. In the meantime, Lacy contacted New Vocations Thoroughbred Program Director, Anna Ford.

“For such a cool horse, we thought it a perfect scenario,” Ford said. “…A way of giving him a chance to flourish at something different.” American Lion took to his retraining with the champion’s attitude that led him to a post in the Kentucky Derby. Within a few days under tack, he was comfortable with his new routine even after being off the track for nine years. So, New Vocations was comfortable posting him for adoption, applying their vigorous screening process.

That’s where the story took another turn.

Hagyard’s Dr. David had become enamored with American Lion while caring for him, and decided to adopt him. While reticent to talk about it himself, Dr. David’s wife Dr. Joan Gariboldi, said there must have been something special about American Lion that led to the adoption.

“He [Dr. David] treats a lot of horses, but somehow this boy affected him,” she said.

Hagyard leadership would say the outcome is in perfect alignment with their vision: “We become an industry leader when we understand we can change these animal’s lives.”

The post American Lion Battles Back From Pneumonia, Finds Second Career With Help From Hagyard, New Vocations, Four Star appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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