Phil Serpe's 18 horses at Saratoga are sound and ready to run. Him? Not so much. And he's got the boot on his right leg to show for it.
The short answer is he strained his achilles tendon sheath, which sounds like something a horse would do, while working out this winter in Florida. The long answer involves tripping over a crossbar in the door of his barn at Belmont Park, falling to the asphalt and fracturing both elbows.
"I hurt my leg in Florida, but we were getting ready to come up here and I figured I'd get it taken care of when I got back to New York," Serpe said. "I go to the doctor, get a referral and the next day I'm walking out the door of the barn after feeding and my right foot got hung up on the bar. I put my arms out and fractured both my radius bones."
Serpe also cut his nose and was actually pretty lucky considering the potential for calamity while falling face first on asphalt. Remember that next time you lean the crossbar on the ground.
Back to the horses, Serpe started with the stable star while talking to The Special's Joe Clancy last week.
Weekend Hideaway: "Unfortunately, he didn't get to run in the John Morrissey (July 30). It was just because of some delayed paperwork. He jumped over a shadow at Monmouth and when he landed Jose Lezcano just wasn't sure what happened and he pulled him up. There wasn't anything wrong with him. I just took my time with him, brought him back. He had to work for the vet, which he did, but he also had to have some blood work done and it never came back. We had to scratch. He loves the slop, he loves Saratoga, he was training great. We missed a race. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances, but he'll be back. We're trying to figure out where to go next. There's an overnight stake in a couple of weeks."
Indygita: "We claimed her in Florida for 30,000. We brought her to New York and she won for 40 right out of the box. She came back and won for 50 in her last start at Belmont and we're going to try her in a one other than (she was 10th Friday). She's a 3-year-old filly and she's all right. Realistically, in New York now, if horses are worth what you claim them for, with how good our purses are you can make a profit."
Cosmic Serenity: "A few years ago we had a filly named Manero, and she got beat a whisker in a stallion stakes here (in 2012). This is her sister and when I bought her I said I was buying her to run in the stallion stakes in August. People looked at me like I was out of my mind. She's going to run on the 13th in the stallion stakes. We like her. She looks like her father (the Serpe-trained Cosmonaut). The biggest thing on Cosmonaut was his heart. He had a huge pump, and he passes that along. She's in the New York-bred program, that's great."
Valuetempo: "He's another one we claimed in Florida for 25,000. He just finished third last time for 40,000. He runs back Sunday (11th race), straight 3-year-olds for 50. Sometimes you've really got to give them a few months before you know what you have. Not all 2-year-olds are ready to run as 2-year-olds and not all 3-year-olds are ready to run in January and February. You've got to let them move forward and he's going the right way."
Mongolian King: "He was supposed to run up here opening week and he got really sick and was out three weeks before we could even put tack back on him. He's by Munnings and Munnings is doing great. We claimed him for The Elkstone Group and we're very excited about running him up here. We thought he'd be ready early, but now it looks like the latter part of the meet. He's a big, giant horse, very well made. We're pretty excited about him."
La Inesperada: "She ran second the other day (July 30). We claimed her for $25,000 at Belmont. She's improving. She finished second the other day in an off-the-turf race. She's put a lot of weight back on and she's a filly that I think is going to win a bunch of races."
Lemon Song: "We claimed her at Belmont. She likes Saratoga and unfortunately the first two races to run her in haven't filled."
Morning Star: "She ran (Aug. 2) and I was pretty disappointed. We claimed her here last summer. She reeled off two in a row at Belmont, she likes the big, wide turf-course turns down there. We gave her a little breather and first time out of the box at Belmont she gets beat a head. I couldn't have been more excited about running a horse up here and she didn't run any good. That can happen up here. Sometimes things are unexplainable. Everything was pointing in her direction. Her coat was great, she worked great, everything was going great. And she was sixth."