Good Reason SA
Good Reason SA had arthroscopic surgery, performed by Dr. McIlwraith, of both knees and one fetlock the year previous to winning the Champion of Champions.
Vallee Enchantee had arthroscopic surgery, performed by Dr. McIlwraith, for severe Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) in both stifles as a yearling.
Lillie Langtry blitzed a top-class field when winning the Coronation Stakes-Gr. 1 at Royal Ascot—just 7 months after suffering a career-threatening knee fracture at the Breeders' Cup in Santa Anita.
Dear Dr. McIlwraith,
The expertise with which you performed surgery on Sky Jack, along with your competent staff, has enabled him to come back on the racing scene with unprecedented success. Since his return to racing in February, he has won the "Mervyn Leroy Handicap," "The 2002 Hollywood Gold Cup" and was named "Horse of the Meet" for the 2002 Spring/Summer meet at Hollywood Park.
We are very grateful for the dedication and skill that you have given to the Thoroughbred industry. We would like to thank you on behalf of ourselves, our staff and, of course, Sky Jack, in aiding in his current and future success!
Rene and Marjorie Lambert
Ren-Mar Thoroughbreds, Inc.
The atmosphere was grim one early April morning in 1998 at Stonerside Stable, Bob and Janice McNair's Kentucky farm. Thoroughbred mare Mari's Sheba was struggling to foal, but, at 152 pounds, the foal was dangerously oversized. Attempts to help pull the tightly lodged foal from the mare only resulted in Mari's Sheba being dragged onto her side.
At two a.m., the chestnut colt was finally born-an hour and a half after his ordeal began. The grueling birth had broken two of his ribs and cracked three others. His lip was paralyzed and hung to one side, earning him the nickname, "Twitch". His first 45 days of life were spent in a stall, fighting for his life. Stable employees spent hours with the colt, trying to prevent him from puncturing his heart with one of his broken ribs. Because of his problems, and the time people spent with him, "Twitch" became a special pet.
"Twitch", or Congaree, as he was later named, recovered from his birth injuries, only to be stricken with pneumonia and diarrhea when he was only six months old. The farm manager, Bobby Spalding, did not think he would survive. The intensive nursing began again.
Amazingly, Congaree did recover, but his troubles were not over yet. He made it to the Del Mar starting gate in September 2000, and placed sixth in a maiden race. After the race, however, x-rays revealed a bone chip in his right knee. Dr. Wayne McIlwraith from the Orthopaedic Research Center performed arthroscopic surgery to remove the chip. This resilient colt, who had been through more illness and injuries in his first two years than most horses face in their lifetimes, spent five months recovering from the surgery.
And recover he did! After three starts and three victories, including the Wood Memorial, Congaree was a prime contender for the 2001 Kentucky Derby. He finished third in the Derby and third in the Preakness Stakes, delighting his owners and his trainer, Bob Baffert. He then went on to win the Swaps Stakes. Congaree is truly a success story-a homebred colt who fought for his life and soundness to emerge a great racehorse.