Horse Trained by Baffert Euthanized on Track

Havnameltdown throws jockey, who's hospitalized, in race before Preakness
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2023 4:00 PM CDT
3-Year-Old Colt Euthanized on Track Before Preakness
An outrider intercepts Havnameltdown after it suffered a catastrophic leg injury during the sixth race prior to the 148th running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday in Baltimore.   (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

A horse trained by Bob Baffert broke down Saturday during an undercard race before the Preakness and was euthanized on the track. Luis Saez, the jockey, suffered a leg injury and was hospitalized. Havnameltdown, a 3-year-old colt stumbled near the final turn at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the Washington Post reports, and threw Saez. The horse had started the sixth race, in which it was the favorite, slowly, struggling to get out of the gate, per CBS Sports. The jockey hit the ground hard, rolling several times on the track, and Havnameltdown briefly kept going. Medical personnel and track officials then rushed to both of them.

The horse's injury was such that "they couldn't do anything for him. He had to be humanely euthanized," Dr. Scott Hay, the on-call veterinarian, told NBC. The accident happened on Baffert's first day back to Triple Crown racing in two years after a suspension. He said Havnameltdown hadn't had any problems. "We are so careful with all these horses, and it still happens," Baffert said. "It is something that is very disheartening." He has a horse, National Treasure, in the Preakness later in the day. "We do grieve when these things happen," Baffert said Saturday. "There's nothing worse than coming back [to the stables] and the stall is empty." (Churchill Downs has had a series of deaths.)

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