Endorsement, won the first graded running of the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby in March then was forced to miss the Kentucky Derby because of an injury, is about a week from having his first work back, said his trainer, Shannon Ritter.
Endorsement is settled in at Sunland, where Ritter has set up shop for the first time. She shipped into the New Mexico track this spring and won her biggest career race in the Sunland Derby, which was graded for the first time this year. Endorsement then began preparations for the Kentucky Derby but suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his final work before the race. He had surgery for the injury, then underwent stem cell treatment. Endorsement later resumed training at WinStar Farm in Kentucky and last week returned to Ritter.
“He’s galloping a mile and a half,” she said. “He hasn’t breezed yet. Probably in another week or so, we’ll start working. Hopefully, he’ll have his first race back here. We know he likes the track.”
A son of Distorted Humor owned by WinStar Farm, Endorsement won the Sunland Derby by three lengths over Conveyance and earned a career-high Beyer Figure of 101. Ritter said Endorsement looks like he has blossomed over the last several months.
“Physically, he looks awesome,” she said. “He was starting to fill out right before the Derby. He came out of the Sunland Derby on top of the world, starting to fill out. He looks really good. He acts like he’s ready to rock and roll.”
Ritter said her stable is made up of a lot of young horses, some of whom race for WinStar. She has a number of 2-year-olds at Sunland, including colts by Maria’s Mon, Toccet, and Artie Schiller and fillies by Street Cry and Mineshaft.
In all, Ritter has 12 horses at Sunland, which opened its winter-spring meet Friday.
A 46-year-old native of Minnesota, Ritter is a former jockey, and in the early 1990’s won the riding title at Portland Meadows. Ritter was also an assistant to Elliott Walden, who is the racing manager for WinStar.
This summer, Ritter raced in Chicago. She is a 46-year-old native of Minnesota.