This, from the Stewards’ Report for the Carolina Cup Steeplechase in Camden, South Carolina, March 30: “SPECIAL SKILLS fell at the 6th fence, he appeared to switch leads approaching the fence get in to close and hook the top of the fence and take a rotational fall…he was diagnosed with a broken neck and euthanized.”
Okay – broken neck, dead. But then this, in the “Official Comments” section:
“There was a serious breakdown in the veterinary protocol as [the track vet] did not have sufficient help and he could not be everywhere that he needed to be at the same time. There needs to be at least two veterinarians on course and at least one back at the barn at all times. The stewards were often unable to communicate with the official veterinarian when the [sic] wanted him to examine a horse postrace.
At this meet both SIM CARD (who was visibly lame) and SPECIAL SKILLS (who had been down for a considerable period of time after falling) were walked back to the barn instead of using the horse ambulance that was parked besides them.”
Yes, that’s right, because of either unconscionable incompetence or base callousness, the 9-year-old Special Skills was forced to walk off the course – with a broken neck. Imagine that. No word on the “visibly lame,” but also made to walk off, Sim Card.