US RACING: Trainer Joe Sharp recovering from major surgery

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Trainer Joe Sharp

US trainer Joe Sharp is recovering from a 10-hour surgery to remove a benign tumour known as an acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma), his wife, Rosie Napravnik, said June 4.

The 35-year-old trainer underwent the procedure Thursday at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and was recovering in the intensive care unit there Thursday night. He is expected to spend three to five days in the hospital. A recovery period of about six weeks is anticipated.

Napravnik said the tumour, which develops on the balance (vestibular) and auditory (cochlear) nerves leading from the inner ear to the brain, was discovered a year ago when Sharp began experiencing severe dizzy spells. The pressure on the nerve is known to cause hearing loss and imbalance, according to Mayo Clinic.

“We have (retired jockey agent) Richard DePass to wholeheartedly thank for keeping the pressure on Joe and reaching out to connections at University of Louisville to get a second opinion after Joe was originally diagnosed with vertigo,” Napravnik said. “We’ve been monitoring the tumor since it was discovered and scheduled the surgery for the beginning of this year, which was then delayed due to COVID-19.”

Napravnik, who is also in Houston but was not able to be at the hospital because of COVID-19 restrictions, said Sharp emerged from surgery with expected hearing loss in his right ear, “but other than that, he is good as new.

“As soon as he is awake, he will be able to talk and function normally, and they will get him up and out of bed tomorrow,” she said. “We’re praying for a smooth recovery and a return home very soon. We thank everybody for their prayers and love and especially for the overwhelming support from our families, friends, and from Joe’s wonderful owners.”

Sharp, a native of Martinsburg, W.V., is a lifelong horseman who took out his training license in 2014. Astute claims laid the early foundation for his success, and through June 3 he has won 576 races from 3,194 starts, with his horses bringing home earnings of $22,507,329. His best performer was 2017 betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) winner Girvin , who also won the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) that season. Multiple grade 3 winner Mom’s On Strike and Charles Town Oaks (G3) winner Lady T N T are among other top contenders he has saddled.