When considering horse racing and the challenges at this time, particularly in North America, I marvel at those important turning points in history. While it may not have been considered momentous in the moment, the number of these turning points in the history of The Minstrel are uncanny.
Of course, while Northern Dancer, was an extraordinary sire, its unlikely he would have had the same global impact were it not for The Minstrel. So to look at the next crisis involving The Minstrel we return to Rivers of Gold:
“… Fearful she (Fleur, dam of The Minstrel) would abort, (Windfields resident veterinarian) Rolph deGannes prescribed a powerful non-steroid painkiller to ease her pain. DeGannes also treated her with warm compresses and massage therapy. It was almost a month before Fleur was able to bear weight on the leg and could walk out into a small paddock adjacent to the barn by herself. As it turned out the injury was to the supra-scapula nerve at the point of the shoulder. The combination of painkillers, compresses and massage got the nerves working again.
All seemed to be going well until Fleur was about to give birth. The drugs they used at the onset of the injury had turned the amniotic sac into an impenetrable wall. DeGannes received an emergency phone call from the foaling barn at 2:00a.m. A quick exam led him to understand the foal simply could not break through. Eventually, with a little help from deGannes, the tiny chestnut colt with four white socks emerged. Later deGannes weighed the afterbirth. Where the average weight is about 12-15 pounds; this one weighed 39 pounds.”
… to be continued. still more drama ahead