All week, I’ve been attempting – with several (unanswered) calls and voice messages – to secure kill confirmations on horses at Charles Town, Mountaineer, and Parx. As we know, transparency isn’t a hallmark of the racing industry. When a star horse goes down, however, information – detailed information – comes fast and easy. Yesterday at Del Mar, 3-year-old – and Grade 1 winner and Kentucky Derby entrant – Dance With Fate was euthanized after rupturing “two of his three large patella ligaments in his right rear leg” during a morning workout. According to a track press-release, the colt “unexplainably bolted to the outside fence near the far turn…crashed and fell heavily.”
Of course before dying, Dance With Fate received the kind of attention not afforded pedestrian claimers:
“Dr. Von Bluecher, along with veterinarians Dr. Jeff Blea and Dr. Jen Finley, all attended to the horse throughout the morning. X-rays of the injury were taken and shared with famed equine orthopedic surgeon Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The injury, which was complicated by possible infection and further injuries in the stifle area, meant the horse’s patella (akin to a human knee cap) would not be able to bear weight. It was the consensus among the veterinarians that the severity of the injury left his connections euthanization as their only humane choice.”
And, as usual, the fatuity flows – trainer Peter Eurton: “Words can’t express what we’re feeling right now. With an extremely heavy heart we report Dance With Fate was unable to survive his injuries. Thank you for all of the support during a rough time like this. The joy he gave us will never be forgotten.”
Let’s be clear here: The joy of which Mr. Eurton speaks did not spring from some innocent interaction with an intelligent and graceful animal. Rather, it was a joy directly correlated to pots of gold won; with three wins (in nine starts) and $680,000 earnings, what trainer Eurton and the colt’s owners will grieve most is a lucrative revenue stream gone dry before its time. This is horseracing.