Horse Health

2 Horses Die in Races Before Preakness

“A total of 4,649 thoroughbreds…died in racetrack-related incidents from 2009 to 2015…”

Two racehorses died Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, site of the Preakness Stakes to be held later in the day.

Homeboykris leads Saturday in the race he later won. The horse died on his way back to the barn.

Homeboykris leads Saturday in the race he later won. The horse died on his way back to the barn.

Homeboykris collapsed after the first race of the day while walking back to his barn. The horse, a 9-year-old gelding, won the race at the Maryland track in Baltimore.

Trainer Francis Campitelli was in the stands when his horse went down.

He told The Baltimore Sun, “The boy that takes care of him said they had gone probably 100 yards, and he got wobbly and fell over and he pretty much was dead when he hit the ground.”

Campitelli said they thought the horse was in “really good health” and why he died was still a bit of a mystery.

“They’re thinking at this point it was some sort of heart attack … ruptured aorta or something like that,” he told the Sun. We won’t know until they do a necropsy on him, just to find out exactly what happened.”

>Pramedya, a 4-year-old filly, fractured a cannon bone in her leg while running on grass in the fourth race and was euthanized on the track. Jockey Daniel Centeno broke his collarbone in the fall.

The horses will have necropsies performed at New Bolton Center Hospital in southeastern Pennsylvania, Pimlico spokesman David Joseph said.<

Mike Hopkins, executive director of Maryland Racing Commission, said those tests usually take seven to 10 days.

“It really is unfortunate,” he told CNN. “We at the Maryland Racing Commission take safety and integrity very seriously and we conducted thorough examinations and inspections before every race, as well as after every race. We have several veterinarians on-staff and on-site, and we inspect them in the barns, in the paddock, and at the starting gate.”

Pramedya is owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who owned Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby who pulled up lame during the Preakness. He underwent eight months of veternary care but was euthanized in in January 2007. Pramedya had won two of her first four career starts, including one race this year.

Homeboykris had run 62 races before Saturday, winning 13 and finishing in the top three 28 times. He finished 16th in the 2010 Kentucky Derby.

A closer look at racing deaths

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on the horses’ owners “to release veterinary records & complete list of medications that horses were administered before #Preakness races.”

A 2012 New York Times look into horse racing found that 24 horses die each week in the United States on average. The Times wrote that after Eight Belles was euthanized on the track after the 2008 Kentucky Derby, Congress got the horse racing industry to increase safety for horses and riders. One of the measures was a policy banning many anabolic steroids.

A total of 4,649 thoroughbreds — a rate of 1.87 for every 1,000 starts — died in racetrack-related incidents from 2009 to 2015, according to the Equine Injury Database compiled by The Jockey Club. In 2015, the fatality rate was the lowest (1.62) of the seven years for which data was available,

“These improving fatality rates are clear evidence that we can move the needle and that the efforts of so many are truly bearing fruit,” Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director in Kentucky, said in March.

The Jockey Club, the registry for thoroughbred horses in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, said the data include horses that had injuries that caused death within 72 hours of a race. The data doesn’t include quarter horses or standardbred horses.

Last week, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety & Intergrity Alliance announced that it had reaccredited Pimlico Race Course.

“We are proud to once again earn the highest of marks in safety and integrity in the alliance’s accreditation,” Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said.

8 replies »

  1. FirsHits ridiculous to have horses this young racing at all! These youngsters beginning training when they are approx. 15-18 months old. Are these people crazy??? That would be training a human tiddler to run a marathon. They pump them full of vitamins, high protein and who knows what the vets and the owners get.away with. Is it any wonder her poor little leg snapped! My God.she was a baby and her poor little bones were not even formed yet. Thoroughbreds should not be raced until they are at least 5 in my book. But heaven forbid the owners would have to be out some money. If they truly loved their horses they would not race them so young. Its just like the Arabians everyone is going to make big money selling them! The stats on a thoroughbred making it to the top is very sad. 1 out of approx. 39,000 foals may make big money and on to the Derby. What about the other 29,000-where do they go? If they are one of the lucky ones they will be picked up by a rescue. They may be purchased to be used as a hunter jumper. Long life as a jumper..hmmm I think not. Hunter on the flat maybe. But be realistic some of these Kill Pens have a number of thouroughbreds in them despite the Jockey Club’s efforts. Some are shipped directly to slaughter. Even US horses shipped to other countries are not safe. The famous Horse Ferdinand was slaughtered in Japan because his get were so slow. The bottom line is these horses are trained and raced too early. They are pushed beyond their physical capability and for what? So the owners and syndicates owning the horses can make a lot of money. Sad, why can’t they just do it for the love of the Horse and not the almighty dollar! Very sad!!! A baby Horse died at 4. How frickin sick is that!! All my horses lived into their 30’s. That’s difference..I loved my horses and didn’t care if I made a dime. The fun times and the reciprocated love was all I needed. They in the racing community just don’t frickin get it!! And so many more horses and youngsters will continue to die unless they change their ways!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Gail, I have to second your post. You’ve called it right. Performance enhancing drugs are a big problem that is not strictly being enforced and running the horses way too young is another. Sloppy tracks are no good for horses running at top speed. Breeding the horses too light is another problem. Knees not closed, spines not developed…you name it it is ignored in the racing world. I’ve had some cine through here that looked like walking skeletons. I’ve salvaged some, lost some. I do know an owner who got out of it because of many things discussed including forcing the owners to breed their mares in order to stay in the racing world. She does love her horses and still has every one of hers living in retirement just being horses. I have one here who had a sad story. She’s retired and that’s that. She’s done her work, won her owners their money and was tgeiwn away .. Now she’s just living her life being a horse..and very much loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gail & Terri – I also agree. I find most people who “love” racing have no conception of what actually happens to these horses – most of whom are babies. The question of why must they be started so young? Of course, its money & greed & power! I think every discipline of every “sport” that involves any animal has its downside. Whether its horses, dogs, no matter what – at some point they all have some greedy extreme – where its always the animals that suffer. But horse races? I would bet that’s the one that is responsible for the most death & disabilities. This is so depressing and today got an email regarding the Broken Arrow “short” term holding facility in Fallon, Ne – BLM actually allowed a tour! From the sound of it & the pictures, these wide-open pens with wind & sand blowing thru sure tells exactly what care our wild horses are getting there – over 2,000 of them – some have been in this facility (short term holding) for years! The conditions look & sound like a feed lot – only cattle in a feedlot get better treatment I’m thinking!
    Sorry this is such a pessimistic email – this really bothers me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Horse racing, rodeos, carriage rides by horse, circus horses..all symptoms of a society gone wrong in the name of money and frivolous entertainment without much thought to the welfare of the animal subjects being used and abused over and over


  5. This is the side of horse racing they naturally do NOT report on. I for one would like to hear more on this subject and statistics and such, though I cannot speak for others. I wonder if the media and other avenues did report more on this subject if it would make any impact at all on the way people view horse racing and the ethics and (in)humane of treatment of the horses that are forced to participate in this sport. But I doubt this subject will ever see the light of day in the public’s eye because why would they ever report on this seemingly “dark” subject matter?


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