Horse News

Vets at Santa Anita Missed Chances to Remove Horse From Race Because of Time Constraints: Death Report

Source: Multiple

A report on the death of Mongolian Groom in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita says veterinarians missed opportunities to remove the gelding from the $6 million race because of time constraints or deficiencies in the process used to evaluate horses.

Mongolian Groom’s death could have been avoided

In the 20-page report issued Wednesday, Dr. Larry Bramlage identified six suggested improvements aimed at refining safety and evaluation protocols for future events.

Mongolian Groom, a 4-year-old gelding, suffered what Cup officials described as “a serious fracture” of his left hind leg in the late stages of the Classic last November, which was shown on national television. Four vets recommended that he be euthanized.

Bramlage’s six recommendations were:

— pre-identify horses before arrival at the event with histories of concerns to be looked at

— focus responsibility for individual horse exams. Seven regulatory vets looked at Mongolian Groom a total of 10 times and Bramlage concluded that had there been fewer people, a more focused assessment may have resulted

— improve the quality of on-track observations leading up to the event

— create space in the barn area where regulatory vets could observe horses on the extra security list jog in a circle for observation

— make diagnostic imaging part of the pre-race exams for selected horses

— take advantage of all available video footage of horses before the event

“It is hard to fault a process that had a 99.6% accuracy rate,” Bramlage said, noting that of the 229 horses that competed in last year’s world championships, Mongolian Groom was the only one to be injured.

After the event, the Breeders’ Cup board of directors hired Bramlage, of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky, to conduct an evaluation of Mongolian Groom’s pre-race condition and injury, as well as all pre-race safety and evaluation protocols in place for the two-day world championships.

2 replies »

  1. “Seven regulatory vets looked at Mongolian Groom a total of 10 times and Bramlage concluded that had there been fewer people, a more focused assessment may have resulted.”

    This is a preposterous claim! I’d like to hear from those seven professional veterinarians who signed off on Mongolian Groom, since I expect the story would be a bit different. It’s also preposterous (especially in the racing industry) to think somehow fewer people would produce a better result, since they could be more easily bought off or misled about a given horse.

    Reviewing all video footage of a horse’s prior races will also be next to meaningless, as they will be history and any healing will have happened after, as in the case of Mongolian Groom, who was injured and was rested, then vetted, before racing. Professional vets will never have the time to review old videos of hundreds of horses during every meet, not to mention who will pay for all this and when, and all the assorted computer compatibility issues. And… not all races are filmed, either, nor are the injuries always visible in a video. This suggestion is just bogus and seems cynical and token.

    And really, does anyone believe in a racetrack environment the vets can’t find any place to jog a horse in a circle? You can do this any place you can park two or three cars!

    Bramlage had better suggestions here from 2017:

    Liked by 1 person

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