In his final timed workout before the Preakness Stakes (G1), Royal Mo suffered a devastating injury. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens had flown in from Southern California to ride Royal Mo and he was the one who initially heard a loud “pop” during their workout.
“Initially I thought he just overreached and hit himself, but then there was a loud pop,” said Stevens.
“Unfortunately, when he hit the ground next, I knew he didn’t hit himself. He was just towing me around there, having a brilliant work. Then I heard it coming out of the turn. He looked after me and I looked after him.”
Once he pulled Royal Mo up, Stevens jumped off the colt around the 3/16 pole at Pimlico. Trainer John Shirreffs quickly darted out towards them from the grandstand. Bandages and a splint were put on on Royal Mo, who was then loaded onto an equine ambulance.
“He was in distress, but they had a good bandage on him and probably saved him,” said Stevens.
Tests were taken at Pimlico stakes barn, where x-rays revealed a “fracture of the right-front sesamoid.”
“There isn’t any other damage, so that’s a very good thing for him, for his life after racing,” said Shirreffs. “It’s very difficult. There were a lot of hopes and dreams with Royal Mo from Mr. and Mrs. Moss and my wife, Dottie. They were all excited to see him run, so they’re obviously devastated.”
Royal Mo was 2-2-1 and headed into the Preakness Stakes.