Tragic Incident at Preakness Stakes Meeting: Bob Baffert-Trained Horse Havanameltdown Euthanized, Jockey Luis Saez Hospitalized


Tragedy struck the Preakness Stakes meeting at Pimlico Race Course when a horse trained by Bob Baffert suffered a devastating injury and had to be euthanized on the track. The incident also resulted in the jockey, Luis Saez, being taken to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

Havanameltdown Suffers Fatal Injury at Preakness Meeting

During the Chick Lang Stakes race at the Preakness Meeting on Saturday, Havnameltdown encountered a mishap. As the Florida-bred colt was rounding the far turn, it appeared that he took a misstep, causing jockey Luis Saez to be thrown off. The horse suffered a non-operable left front fetlock injury, which was deemed severe by the chief veterinary officer for 1/ST Racing.

Despite the evident damage to its lower leg, Havnameltdown continued running, displaying incredible resilience. However, it was clear that the horse was in distress, prompting the quick decision by veterinarians to euthanize him on the track. To respect the sensitivities of onlookers, a screen was placed around Havnameltdown during his final moments.

Jockey Luis Saez in Hospital with Leg Injury

Meanwhile, jockey Luis Saez, who was initially sitting up after the fall, was immediately attended to by medical personnel. He was then carefully placed on a stretcher and taken to Sinai hospital. Though conscious and stable, Saez complained of leg pain, which warranted further evaluation.

The Preakness Stakes, being part of the Triple Crown series, attracts considerable attention. Such incidents occurring during high-profile races only intensify scrutiny and raise concerns about the well-being of racehorses.

Despite the somber turn of events, the racing continued at Pimlico Race Course in the lead-up to the Preakness, as scheduled. Bob Baffert, the renowned trainer of Havnameltdown, expressed his deep sadness and disappointment, emphasizing the meticulous care provided to the horses under his watch. Baffert voiced his hope for Saez’s recovery and shared his sorrow over losing a promising horse.

Pimlico Death Follows Eight Horse Deaths at Churchill Downs in Kentucky Derby Meeting

The unfortunate incident involving Havnameltdown and Saez comes on the heels of another dark chapter in horse racing. Just weeks ago, eight horses lost their lives at Churchill Downs, adding fuel to the ongoing criticism surrounding the sport’s safety and the occurrence of fatalities.

The sad demise of Havnameltdown adds to the ongoing debate surrounding the safety of horses in the racing industry. In response to such concerns, 1/ST Racing, the organization overseeing Pimlico Race Course, reaffirmed its commitment to implementing stringent reforms.

As investigations and evaluations continue, the focus remains on minimizing the risks associated with the sport. Efforts are being made to improve horse welfare, strengthen medication practices, enforce pre- and post-race testing protocols, enhance injury management procedures, and ensure the highest standards for racing surfaces.

1/ST Racing and the Maryland Jockey Club are determined to maintain the well-being and safety of the equine athletes competing in their races.

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