Endorsement: A Racehorse in the Purest Sense (And a Whitney Handicap Contender)

Zach TirpakContributor IAugust 2, 2012

Endorsement in 2010
Endorsement in 2010Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Endorsement is a stallion's stallion.  He's one of those horses that want every eye in the paddock focused on him.  Rearing and roaring, stomping and strutting, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred has a lot to proud of, and he'll make sure you know it.

Some may remember Endorsement being a legitimate contender for the 2010 Kentucky Derby.  It would never materialize, however, as he would suffer a right-front condylar fracture while working out a week before the Race for the Roses.  It was nothing short of a disappointment to Endorsement's owners, Shannon and Bill Casner, and his trainer at the time, Shannon Ritter.

Since that heartbreaking injury, the son of Distorted Humor has set his comeback trail on fire following a successful surgery in which two screws were inserted to heal the bone.  It would be 19 months until Endorsement would take the track again, and with a new trainer to boot.

Eoin Harty, a former top Baffert assistant, now takes care of the chestnut stallion. He couldn't be disappointed with his progress this year.  Endorsement has finished in the money in five of his six races since returning to the track in December of 2011.  

His first win came in an AOC race at Gulfstream, where he breezed to a wire-to-wire victory.  Perhaps his most impressive showing was at the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park, where he decided to close late down the stretch, beating out the favorite, Canonize.

It has been quite the journey for this rambunctious horse, but the story only gets more interesting.  Endorsement is one of a very small minority of American thoroughbreds in training that do not race on drugs.  You heard it right—zero drugs.  

Harty tells the New York Daily News, "He’s sound, so there’s no reason to give him anything for that, and he doesn’t bleed, so there’s no reason to give him any Lasix.”

It is the sentiment of all racehorse medication opponents.  A fit horse shouldn't need drugs to race and and unfit horse shouldn't be racing anyway.  Harty goes on to cite Endorsement's track-record time of 1:42:35 in February's AOC at Gulftream, which he set without the aid of medication.

Racing fans should be rooting for this 5-year-old comeback kid.  With silly pre-race behavior (on one occasion he tried to mount his guide pony during the post parade), a likable trainer and a true "overcoming-the-odds" history, Endorsement is a fan favorite everywhere he goes.  It is always great to watch horses with bold personalities, and even better when they win.

Endorsement will try for a signature career win on Saturday when he takes on top competitors in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga.  Every other horse in the field will likely be running on Lasix.  Horse of the Year candidate Ron the Greek will likely be the favorite.