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At Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, we’re proud to recognize outstanding equine athletes, especially those who have overcome major health complications. The Rood & Riddle Comeback Award is presented annually to a horse who has performed at the highest levels of competition or service, faced a medical or surgical issue, received veterinary care by a Rood & Riddle veterinarian and subsequently returned to elite competition. Read about our exceptional award recipients below!

2021 - Celtic Fire

This year the Rood & Riddle Comeback Award is being given to Celtic Fire, a fourteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood.


Celtic Fire was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and laminitis in November 2017. Dr. Bill Gilsenan and Dr. Craig Lesser treated him in our Lexington facility. He made the trip to our Wellington facility, where Dr. Raul Bras further treated his laminitis.


After completing rehabilitation in August 2018, he returned to limited competition in May 2019 and in 2020, he returned to a full competition schedule. He has had top placings in the Capital Challenge, World Equestrian Center, Ohio and Florida, the Aiken Charity, the Winter Equestrian Festival and Traverse City events.


Dr. Tom Riddle said, “we are pleased to present the 2021 Rood & Riddle Comeback Award to Celtic Fire. He exemplifies the characteristics of an outstanding horse who suffered a major health issue, returned to service and competition and continued their exemplary careers.”


2019 - Yoder and Cyklon 1083

In 2019 the Rood & Riddle Comeback Award was given to two outstanding horses. Yoder and Cyklon 1083 faced severe medical challenges, fully recovered and continued with their duties and competitions.


This year’s first winner is Yoder, a seventeen-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse/Belgian cross, who has served as a Lexington Mounted Police horse for two years.  Yoder was injured in the line of duty in December 2018 when he and his rider, Officer Shawn Davis, were on their way to the Christmas parade in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. Yoder’s rear left leg got trapped in a pipe after he stepped into an uncovered utility hole in the road. His shoe had become caught in a pipe inside the utility hole. Doctors Kevin Hyde, Colton Thacker and fire officials worked for more than an hour to free him.  After arriving at the hospital, Dr. Brett Woodie was Yoder’s treating veterinarian. Thanks to the great care he received, Yoder is now back in service (including working the 2019 Kentucky Derby.


Our second recipient, Cyklon 1083, is an eighteen-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion owned by Spy Coast Farm, who was ridden on the international show jumping circuit by Team Ireland rider Shane Sweetnam. In 2015, Cyklon underwent colic surgery and emergency surgery for guttural pouch mycosis while in Belgium for competition. Once arriving home to Spy Coast Farm several months later, it was discovered that the guttural pouch surgery had resulted in nerve damage to his airway, which Dr. Rolf Embertson of Rood & Riddle was able to correct, and Cyklon was able to return to compete successfully. In 2017 Cyklon again underwent colic surgery, this time at Rood & Riddle by Dr. Scott Hopper, and once more was able to return to international competition successfully. Cyklon retired to stud in 2019 with career wins across ten different countries, 99 top placings and 30 wins internationally. He resides next door at Spy Coast Farm, where he enjoys the relaxed pace of a breeding stallion and says hello to tour guests when they stop by the stallion barn.


“We are pleased to present the 2019 Rood & Riddle Comeback Award to both Yoder and Cyklon 1083. They exemplify the characteristics of an outstanding horse who suffered a major health issue, returned to service and competition and continued their exemplary careers,” said Dr. Tom Riddle.


The awards were presented on Saturday, July 27, 2019, at Hats Off Day Opening Ceremonies before the Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.


2018 - California Chrome

The richest Kentucky Derby winner and two-time horse of the year, California Chrome, has been selected as the 2018 Rood & Riddle Comeback Award winner.


California Chrome, of course, was the exciting winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby. He followed up his Derby win with a big win in the Preakness. Following this, he continued to race successfully and was scheduled to race in England in 2015, but he encountered physical issues which prevented him from racing there. After evaluation by Dr. Larry Bramlage, it was decided to treat California Chrome medically and rest him. He shipped to Dubai the following year, where he won the 2016 Dubai World Cup and became the world’s richest racehorse.


“We are extremely pleased to present the 2018 Rood & Riddle Comeback Award to California Chrome. He exemplifies the characteristics of an outstanding equine athlete who suffered a health issue, returned to elite competition and continued his winning ways,” said Dr. Tom Riddle. The award was presented to representatives of Taylor Made Stallions, Denise and Perry Martin and California Chrome by surgeon Dr. Larry Bramlage and Dr. Debbie Spike-Pierce, the chief executive officer of Rood & Riddle.


Duncan and Ben Taylor said, “we would like to thank Dr. Larry Bramlage, Dr. Bart Barber and Dr. Debbie Spike-Pierce and the entire Rood & Riddle Team in the recovery of California Chrome in his return to racing and Dr. Charles Scoggin for California Chrome’s success in his transition to stud duty.”


California Chrome is now standing at stud at Taylor Made Farm, and his first foals, which are outstanding, were welcomed into the world this year. Just as he excelled on the racetrack, great things are expected from his foals in the sale ring and at the races.


2017 - Tempt Me

World Grand Champion, Fine Harness mare, Tempt Me has been selected as the 2017 Rood & Riddle Comeback Award winner.  


Tempt Me, owned by Susan G. Bartlett of Owensboro, Kentucky and trained by Chuck Herbert, was chosen due to her tenacity in returning from a 2015 colic surgery by Dr. Brett Woodie.  The flashy eight-year-old mare went undefeated in the 2016 season, ultimately taking both the World Championship in Fine Harness Amateur Ladies and the World Grand Championship in Amateur Fine Harness titles at the 2016 World Championship Show held in Louisville, Kentucky.


“We are pleased to present the 2017 Rood & Riddle Comeback Award to Tempt Me.  She exemplifies the characteristics of an outstanding athlete who suffered a major health issue, returned to elite competition and continued her winning ways,” said Dr. Tom Riddle. 


The award was presented by Tempt Me’s surgeon, Brett Woodie DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, on Friday, July 7, 2017, at the Lexington Junior League Horse Show.

2016 - Wise Dan

In 2016, two-time Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Wise Dan was selected to receive the inaugural Rood & Riddle Comeback Award. The presentation was made at the Kentucky Horse Park during the 2016 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix and Hats Off Day celebration on July 30, 2016.


A homebred for Morton Fink trained by Charlie LoPresti, Wise Dan compiled a 23-2-0 record from 31 starts for earnings of $7,552,920 before being retired in 2015 while attempting a comeback at age 8.


Wise Dan was cared for throughout his career by Rood & Riddle veterinarians, primarily Dr. Larry Bramlage, who looked after his orthopedic needs, Dr. Scott Hopper, who performed colic surgery on the gelding in 2014, and Dr. Scott Morrison, who took care of his podiatry needs.


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