The Outside Rail

Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sales buyers and sellers will tell you Paget Bennett is “one in a million” and now they’ve got proof. The regional director of sales, based in the company’s Fair Hill, Md. office is recovering from surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm late last month.

Surgery went well and, though she missed the final days of the May sale and is at home, she’s expected to make a full recovery.

“They’d been watching it. I was born with a heart murmur so I guess it was there,” she said of the aneurysm. “Most people have a tricuspid aortic valve. They thought I had a bicuspid, which is one in 500. Apparently, I have a uni-cuspid which means I’m one in a million.”

As Bennett put it, “Wild.” Surgeons repaired the aneurysm, left the valve alone and sent her home to recuperate.

“Listen to your body,” she said. “The only symptom I had was that I was just very tired. I didn’t have shortness of breath or anything. Luckily I was healthy and now I’m taking it easy. I had my surgery. I’m walking laps at home. It’s all good.”

Bennett did all the normal preliminary work for the May sale of 2-year-olds in Timonium, Md., and planned to have the surgery in late June. After some test results came back, surgeons moved the date up a month – to May 24 (one day after the sale). Bennett stayed at Timonium through the pre-sale workouts May 16-18, then went home to get ready for surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

“Where’s Paget?” plenty of sales-goers asked as the May sale set several records including the highest price ever paid for a Thoroughbred at auction in Maryland ($1.5 million for a Curlin colt).

“I watched from afar,” she said of the returns, “and it was pretty cool. We thought we could have a big sale and we did.”

More importantly, surgery to repair the aneurysm went well and Bennett is busy steering the office (remotely) through finalization of the fall yearling sale entries while also following doctors’ orders.

“I was hoping to be back in the office by now,” she said. “I get cleared sometime in July by my surgeon. I called the office today and said, ‘Send me stuff to do.’ It’s time for fall yearling entries and we’re getting a lot of people saying they’re excited about what they’re bringing.”