Multiple grade three stakes champion El Areeb is continuing the healing process following surgery he underwent to fix a fractured knee that derailed his Triple Crown quest. El Areeb’s trainer Cal Lynch said the three-year-old colt’s stitches were removed on April 17, two weeks following his operation by Dr. Dean Richardson at the New Bolton Center.
El Areeb will rest at Lynch’s Laurel Park barn first and then be sent to Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland, which is about 90 minutes away. He will continue his recovery process there.
“Everything looks really good. Fingers crossed, he’ll go to the farm in another week or two and then he’ll be out there for a few months on the treadmill and the AquaTred,” said Lynch. “So far, so good. He looks great, and he’s happy and content. He’s been a very good patient.”
Everything was looking rosy for El Areeb and his chances of earning a starting gate spot in the Kentucky Derby. Following his maiden win in October of last year, he reeled off three more victories in a row, including the Jerome Stakes (G3) and Withers Stakes (G3) earlier this year. Those two wins were followed up by a third-place finish in the Gotham Stakes (G3). In total, El Areeb had earned 30 Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points and was destined to run in the 143rd annual Kentucky Derby.
Things turned sour in a hurry though, as El Areeb went from a top Derby contender to being sidelined with the fractured knee that occurred during a March 29 breeze.
“He knows everybody’s here just trying to take care of him and keep him happy and get him healthy again. Fingers crossed, he’ll come back as good as he was. Credit to the owners, they’re all about the horse—all about the horse. It makes it really easy to train for those guys,” said Lynch.