Fatal horse injury at Santa Anita mars Breeders' Cup Classic
Stronach Group-owned track has been site of 37 horse deaths since last December
A victory by Vino Rosso in the Breeders' Cup Classic was overshadowed by a fatal injury to a 15-1 long shot in the $6 million US race at Santa Anita on Saturday night.
Cup officials said in a statement about two hours after the race that Mongolian Groom was euthanized after sustaining a serious fracture to his left hind leg.
It's the 37th horse death at Santa Anita Park in Southern California since last December and it occurred in the high-profile season-ending championships in front of 67,811 fans and a national prime-time television audience.
Mongolian Groom was part of the early pace in the 1¼-mile race that capped the two-day world championships at Santa Anita. But jockey Abel Cedillo pulled up the four-year-old gelding near the eighth pole as the rest of the field charged toward the finish line.
A green screen was rushed onto the track to block Mongolian Groom from the view of fans and TV viewers. He was loaded onto an equine ambulance and taken to a hospital on the backstretch.
Following the rash of horse fatalities, the Stronach Group — the Canadian company that owns the track — rushed to implement changes to rules involving medication and training. The Breeders' Cup also beefed up its own pre-race exams and observations of Cup runners.
McKinzie, the 5-2 favourite, finished second for trainer Bob Baffert. Higher Power was third and Elate, a five-year-old mare, finished fourth.