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Update On Shamballa

Published: August 7, 2017 8:31 am ET

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One year ago this time, pacing horse Shamballa was basking in the glow of a victory over harness racing's top older pacers. Fast forward to 2017 and the speedster was quietly sitting on the sidelines.

Shamballa took his lifetime mark of 1:47.1 in the 2016 U.S. Pacing Championship, defeating the likes of 2016 U.S. Horse of the Year Always B Miki and 2016 O'Brien Award winner Wiggle It Jiggleit.

The seven-year-old had come back to the races and was gaining momentum, qualifying for the final of the Ben Franklin Free For All in late June. He was scratched from the final and hasn't raced since.

According to trainer and co-owner Rick Zeron, Shamballa was sidelined due to a foot infection but is nearing a return.

"Shamballa had an infected foot, left front, when we raced him in the Ben Franklin," Zeron told Trot Insider. A little bit of a pus pocket had come out the front of his foot. We put a bar shoe on him to race him in the Franklin and the day after the Franklin he was quite sore on it, and there were two other spots on the hairline that had popped out with infection. It caught right up by the frog and we so we had to scratch him from the Final.

"We couldn't go to any of the other major stakes races as we had a specialist come in -- actually, three of them -- and extracted part of the foot to get all of the infection out. It was just time-consuming. One of the specialists had to cut a third of the foot away, because it was rotten."

Shamballa didn't come back to Zeron's Ontario base after the Franklin, with the O'Brien Award winning horsemen leaving the horse stateside with son Scott and Megan Scran at Mark Ford's training centre in New York.

"We were swimming him every day to try to keep him up as much as we could. We've got the foot healed, we've got the window bar shoe on him," noted Zeron. "He's on the right track: he's come out of his training sessions sound."

Zeron sat behind Shamballa for a training trip on Sunday morning with the veteran reporting that "he trained like a creature."

Plans are for a qualifier this Friday (August 11) at Tioga with a start in the Roll With Joe on August 20. After that, Zeron plans to bring Shamballa back home for the Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations.

"He was swimming 10-14 minutes per day. We've got the lungs intact, what our situation is now is getting his legs underneath him to get that 1:47 mile out of him."

Owned by Zeron with Cool Cat Racing, Howard Taylor and Brad Grant, Shamballa boasts a 24-8-9 summary from 68 career starts with earnings in excess of $942,000.

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