Midnight Bourbon died at Churchill Downs Sunday from what trainer Steve Asmussen calls “acute gastrointestinal distress.” The “distress,” it should be noted, came just a few hours after a training session. Asmussen: “He got a little uncomfortable and then he deteriorated very rapidly.” He was four years old.
Midnight’s death was widely reported in the racing press because, and only because, he was a star – a runner in last year’s Derby, Preakness, Travers, et al.; “earner” of over $3.5 million for his people – which, of course, fully explains the heavy grieving going on. In BloodHorse, David Fiske of Winchell Thoroughbreds (owner) called it a “gut punch.” And Asmussen, in the DRF: “It’s a devastating situation to the whole barn and everyone who was involved with him. He’s an irreplaceable horse, in more ways than one. It’s beyond sad.” Sad for us and sad for him are two entirely different things.