Breeders' Cup Ends With New Tragedy for Santa Anita

Mongolian Groom fractured a leg during Classic
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2019 8:27 AM CST
Death Haunts Santa Anita's Breeder's Cup
Irad Ortiz Jr. celebrates after riding Vino Rosso to victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A 4-year-old gelding was euthanized after being injured during the Breeders' Cup on Saturday, the 37th death at Santa Anita since December. Mongolian Groom was third when War of Will passed him in the stretch. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione looked back at Mongolian Groom as he seemed to break down, CNN reports. Track workers blocked the view of more than 67,000 spectators and a national TV audience with a large screen while he was examined, then took him in an equine ambulance to an on-site hospital. "Everything had been going so great," trainer Bob Baffert said immediately after the race, per ESPN. "You just don't know when it is going to happen." Breeders Cup officials announced later that Mongolian Groom had suffered a serious fracture to his left hind leg and been euthanized.

The race was the last of 13 over two days, called the world championship for thoroughbreds, and the others were run without injury—though four horses were scratches Saturday after prerace exams. The California track has been dealing with a series of unexplained injuries and deaths. Santa Anita was closed for a bit, and changes have been made to enhance safety since then. Dr. Larry Bramlage, a prominent veterinarian, will head the investigation into Mongolian Groom's death. Vino Rosso, with Irad Ortiz Jr. riding, went on to win the $6 million Classic. (PETA has called for a three-strikes rule at Santa Anita.)

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