3-year-old horses, developmental equivalents of human children, should not be inexplicably collapsing on racetracks:
Tuesday morning at Del Mar, Eddie’s First fell on (and pinned) jockey Amir Cedeno (which is why we know about it). According to U-T San Diego, the Doug O’Neill-trained colt “escaped” with a bloody nose.
Yesterday at Saratoga, Lavender Road, trained by Abigail Adsit, was on her way to the gate for the 7th race when the jockey noticed she “wasn’t herself.” She was then scratched. This followed (Times Union):
“After Lavender Road was scratched, she was being led back to the paddock, but she never made it. Before getting there, she flipped over and was laying on the track right in front of the entrance into the paddock. At first, it was believed Lavender Road was suffering from some sort of heat exhaustion, even though temperatures at the Spa were in the 70s with low humidity.
The filly was being treated with water, ice and intravenous fluids. She was coaxed into getting on her feet, and she did. She got up 10 times, but each time she got on her feet, she would fall back to the ground. She never looked sound on her feet and was never standing for more than a few seconds. Finally, the filly was tranquilized and put on a mat and then dragged into a horse van.”
Trainer Adsit says her filly “suffered head trauma when she fell.” Asked for a prognosis, Adsit replied, “We’ll know better tomorrow. She’s stabilized. If her body absorbs the head trauma, she’ll be OK.” This is horseracing.
This poor filly. Going on what you’ve disclosed Patrick, i’d say it was a severe case of heat stress that caused her to collapse. I’ve witnessed quite a few heat stress cases and what really gets to me is that the treatment is sub-standard. Throwing ice and hosing down is just not enough. Hose then scrape, hose then scrape repeatedly is the proper way to do it because the water hosed on the horse soon heats up if not scraped off. Horse’s head should be hosed first and if wearing blinkers should be immediately removed given they’re made of a man made material which attracts and retains the heat. In my research i have a case where a horse suffered heat stress at a country meet and its handlers put him in a round ring to cool him down? The horse was out of his mind, was not being hosed down and reared over backwards and his head came crashing down and he died of a fractured skull. If this filly was repeatedly getting up and collapsing she may well have suffered head trauma /broken her neck. Most of my heat stress cases occur during the hot summer months, however, i have a few that occurred in the autumn and end of winter which is surprising. If the horse is carrying a thicker than normal coat that can be a factor. From my observations, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a hot or humid day for a horse to come down with heat stress. I’m also wondering if horse was given sufficient electrolytes earlier in the day which keeps them hydrated.
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