Deaths, injuries on the track

Deaths, injuries on the track

Jul 01, 2008
By staff

Since 2006, these high-profile Thoroughbred racehorse injuries and deaths, seen nationally on live television, prompted the Jockey Club and the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority (KHRA) to form welfare and safety committees to look into racetrack safety issues, and led to a hearing last month before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, at which four prominent veterinarians were included among a dozen expert witnesses called to testify.

May 20, 2006: Barbaro, a Thoroughbred who decisively won the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier, fractured three bones in and around the ankle of his right leg at the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. With surgery, the leg eventually healed, but the horse developed laminitis in both front legs and was euthanized in Pennsylvania on Jan. 29, 2007.

Oct. 27, 2007: George Washington, an Irish-born Thoroughbred, was euthanized on the track following an open fracture to the cannon bone and both sesamoid bones in the right front fetlock while running on a muddy track in the Breeder's Cup Classic at Monmouth Park, N.J.

May 2, 2008: Chelokee, a Thoroughbred with a promising career, dislocated his front ankle during an undercard for the Kentucky Oaks at Churchhill Downs, the day before the Derby. The ankle was fused through fetlock arthrodesis and the horse was given a 60-40 chance for survival.

May 3, 2008: Eight Belles, a filly Thoroughbred, collapsed during her cool-down immediately after passing the winning post in second place at the Kentucky Derby. She suffered compound fractures of both front ankles and was euthanized on the spot when veterinarians determined the trauma was too severe to even attempt to move her off the track.

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