Gustav Schickedanz's Artic Fern, the early favourite for the July 4 Queen's Plate after winning three consecutive races in 2010, is undergoing tests to determine the cause of the lameness that resulted in him being withdrawn from consideration for the Plate earlier this week.
Artic Fern, a three-year-old son of Langfuhr - Wood Fern, by Woodman, came up sore in his left foreleg the morning after his final work in advance of the Queen's Plate on June 27. He was declared out of the $1 million Plate the following morning by trainer Mike Keogh.
According to Lauri Kenny, the farm manager for Schickedanz's Schonberg Farm, Artic Fern left Woodbine Racetrack on June 29 for the Toronto Equine Hospital, where he underwent a nuclear scintigraphy the next day. During a scintigraphy, the animal is injected with radioactive isotopes which light up hot spots on the bones. Two hot spots were found on the lame leg of Artic Fern: one on the shin, and other on the pastern.
It is unclear at this point what exactly the injury is. Artic Fern was vanned back to Woodbine Racetrack the morning of July 2, and will undergo a blocking process in the next few days. During blocking, nerves are injected with a blocking agent that will mask pain. If the lameness disappears after a specific nerve is injected, that will determine the area of the injury.