Fully Recovered From Double Knee Replacement Surgery, Lynn Chleborad Looks To Hold Oaklawn Title - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Fully Recovered From Double Knee Replacement Surgery, Lynn Chleborad Looks To Hold Oaklawn Title

Lynn Chleborad

The yip yip is back at Oaklawn.

After briefly being headed by Ingrid Mason in the race for winningest female trainer in Oaklawn history during the 2021-2022 meeting, Lynn Chleborad used a late-season surge to regain the lead.

She did it on two good wheels.

Chleborad's signature celebratory catchphrase, “yip yip,” had been squelched for much of last season's meeting because of several health scares, including a digestive tract disorder and, ultimately, two shredded knees from decades of practicing her craft.

Chleborad, 67, underwent a double knee replacement in late February at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, a procedure performed by orthopedic surgeon Christopher Young, and didn't return to her barn for six weeks.

“I had no ACL, no meniscus,” Chleborad said. “I was bone on bone. The guy told me that my knees were the worst knees that he'd ever done. If they weren't the worst, tied for the worst. I had diverticulitis on top of it and anemia.”

Chleborad said she should have had surgery five years earlier, adding the worsening knee issues stemmed from her age and effects of working as an exercise rider and constant stooping to saddle horses after she began training in the 1980s.

“You know how you think you can kick the can down the road – just kick the can and go on?” Chleborad said. “Chris Young is the best. He is awesome. They told me, as bad as my knees were because I was so knock kneed, they didn't know how I could walk. They told me I have full range of motion. I'm 2 inches taller. I'm 5-9 again. I look 5-9, don't I?”

During her sabbatical from training, Chleborad's stable was overseen by her longtime partner, trainer Gene Jacquot. Chleborad said she spent most of her recovery time at home in rehabilitation therapy.

“They did a great job,” Chleborad said. “They worked me hard. That therapy hurts, now.”

Chleborad entered the 2021-2022 meeting with a 126-121 advantage over Mason in the chase for the top spot among female trainers in Oaklawn history. Mason grabbed her first outright lead,127-126, with a victory March 18. Chleborad answered with her first victory of the meeting the following day and added five more victories in April to take a 132-127 lead over Mason entering the 2022-2023 meeting that is scheduled to begin Dec. 9.

“The weather got nice,” Chleborad said, referring to her push in the final days of the 2021-2022 meeting that ended in early May. “They are (horses) like me. When the weather gets nice, Lynn feels better.”

A Nebraska native, Chleborad showed horses growing up before entering the Thoroughbred industry. She worked for trainer Herb Riecken and galloped his Nebraska legend, Who Doctor Who, before taking out her trainer's license.

Chleborad started her first horse and saddled her first winner in 1987, according to Equibase, racing's official data gathering organization. She had amassed 1,489 victories through Wednesday. Chleborad's 1,000th career victory came March 14, 2014, at Oaklawn with The Rock Rolls for her major client, nationally prominent breeder/owner Allen Poindexter. It was her 93rd career Oaklawn victory. Chleborad saddled her first winner in Hot Springs in 1997.

“I love Lynn Chleborad,” Mason said. “I wish her nothing but good. She's one of the people that I respect a lot on the racetrack.”

Chleborad will be looking to build on her success at Oaklawn with more horsepower in 2022-2023. Among the most promising runners in her projected 23-horse stable is stakes-placed Hartley, who hasn't started since finishing sixth in the $225,000 Iowa Oaks (G3) for 3-year-old fillies July 9 at Prairie Meadows. Chleborad has been a force through the years at the Iowa venue, particularly with Poindexter state-breds.

“I've got more open horses,” Chleborad said of her Oaklawn contingent. “That helps.”

So do two good knees.

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