3-year-old (barely) Stadtpark, running for just the second time, broke down and died in Thursday afternoon’s 4th race at Santa Anita. The young gelding was ridden by Ignacio Puglisi, trained by Paul Aguirre, owned by the Cuevas family et al., and bred by Kaleem Shah. According to Equibase, Stadtpark broke down “on his own.” This is horseracing.
Yesterday afternoon at Churchill Downs, Never Tell Lynda died after banging her head prior to the 1st race. Apparently, the 5-year-old mare was spooked by a loud commercial, including the sound of a gate bell, on the track’s giant screen. The Courier-Journal reports that the horse “reared, twisted and fell backward.” When it became clear that she was dying, a vet helped her along. Says trainer Kenny Wirth: “I knew she was dead. I could see it in her eyes. Blood started gushing from her nose and mouth.”
Churchill Downs, of course, “extend[s] [its] deepest sympathy to trainer Kenny Wirth and everyone at the stable for their loss.” Pity the poor trainer, for apparently he’s in the midst of a rough patch: “I’ve had nothing but bad luck since I got up here. My one horse blowed a suspensory (ligament). Then I had a filly run a couple of weeks ago and she slab-fractured a knee. (Never Tell Lynda) was my hope.”
Interestingly, in Never Tell Lynda’s penultimate start back in November (at Churchill), she “broke in the air and was awkward into stride, [and] pulled up before going a quarter mile.” Officially, a DNF.
3-year-old See the Music “fell heavily” and died during the 7th race at Belmont yesterday, a victim of “an apparent heart attack.” Dead of a heart attack at three. That See the Music fell can only be known through the chart, for the NYRA video conveniently eliminates her from the picture right about the time she was dying. And, no surprise, the last words spoken of her by the announcer are “way back trailing.” That’s it. The replay, though, does provide an early portent when it goes to slow-motion around the 2:40 mark (“Race Replays,” Wednesday Race 7 – she’s #4). This young filly was wrong at the start.
Perhaps NYRA will investigate, perhaps it won’t. Either way, trainer Jason Servis and jockey Larry Mejias had a hand in this death. Also complicit: owner Mr. Amore Stable and breeder Truman Smith DVM (a veterinarian – imagine that).
On the harness circuit, KZ Too fractured a leg at Monticello Tuesday (8th race) and was killed. The complicit: driver Mike Merton and trainer Joseph Moeykens. Because NY is the lone state tracking them, it is easy to forget that Standardbreds sometimes die too. NY’s 2014 Death Toll stands at 34.
5-year-old Summa Cum Boom is dead after breaking down near the quarter pole of yesterday’s 3rd race at Parx. For this mostly career claimer, oblivion. The complicit: jockey Jacqueline Davis, who rode Caillech’s Quest to premature death on Sunday; trainer J Guadalupe Guerrero; owner John Loyle; breeder Ascoli Piceno Stables; and all prior connections. A note: In his penultimate start on April 22nd at Parx, Summa Cum Boom finished last of nine, some 15 lengths back. Going – and gone.
According to well-known equine advocate Deborah Jones, the Todd Pletcher horse who died while training Sunday at Saratoga was 3-year-old Lucky for You (below), not the previously deceased (and also Pletcher-trained) Onlyforyou. Some interesting parallels: both horses were created in Kentucky; both were fillies; both first raced at two; and both ran four times, all in-the-money. But most poignant of all, both were but adolescents when killed. This is Todd Pletcher. This is horseracing.