Last month, I reported on the death of Vertical Threat at Churchill November 6. Yesterday, the Racing Commission disclosed some details – details, to put it mildly, that reflect rather badly on the attending vets and, no surprise, the “connections.”
The chart, you may recall, said Vertical was “vanned off” (after falling) that day. And indeed that has been confirmed by the Commission: “[Vertical] required the horse ambulance [and] was later transported to a clinic for evaluation.” The Commission also added that Vertical “was severely lame after getting to his feet.” And now we know what was behind that lameness:
“L forelimb: multiple fractures of the scapula and a large fracture on the head of the humerus; connective tissues surrounding the shoulder massively expanded by hemorrhage; severe tearing of the muscles surrounding [fractured bones]. R forelimb: complete fracture of the accessory carpal bone.”
So to recap, Vertical suffered fractures in both front limbs – “multiple” in the case of the left – hemorrhage around the shoulder (and, by the way, in the lungs too), and “severe” muscle tearing, and yet the medical “professionals,” the owners (MyRacehorse, Slam Dunk Racing), and whoever else was in on the process (trainer Richard Baltas?) opted to extend this poor animal’s suffering by the length of the ambulance/hospital fiasco. And why do you suppose that is? Well, there’s this: Vertical was coming off a Grade 1 at Del Mar and a Grade 2 at Santa Anita; the race in which he broke down was worth $300,000; he was averaging over $30K a start. In other words, he was a valuable asset, value that surely would have carried over to the breeding shed. For shame, to all involved.