Fatality mars Breeders' Cup Distaff

November 5th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Fatality mars Breeders' Cup Distaff


Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Tragedy struck horse racing in a showcase race for the second time this year, with Pine Island fatally injured and Fleet Indian hurt Saturday in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff.
Round Pond's victory was an afterthought, with the crowd of 75,132 stunned at the sight of Pine Island tumbling to the dirt on the backstretch at Churchill Downs.
Pine Island was euthanized after dislocating her left front ankle, which broke the skin and introduced infection into her bloodstream, according to Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith, director of orthopedic research at Colorado State's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Jockey Javier Castellano was pitched over the top of Pine Island as the 3-year-old filly fell.
He gave a thumbs-up sign as he got into an ambulance. Castellano returned about an hour later to ride Bernardini to a second-place finish in the $5 million Classic.
"She was running good. We got on the backside, and I asked her to switch leads, and it happened so fast," Castellano said. "She broke down. I don't know what else to say."
Fleet Indian, the 5-2 wagering favorite under Jose Santos, had X-rays, which showed ligament injuries, but no broken bones. Her injuries are repairable and the 5-year-old mare will be able to function as a broodmare, said McIlwraith, an on-call veterinarian Saturday.
"That's a lot better news," he said.
"At some point, she'll have surgery. She will probably have screws put in her leg."
Fleet Indian was injured near the half-mile pole and Santos pulled her up.
"I decided to take a hold, and take good care of her," he said. "She's more valuable as a broodmare. It was her life, my life, and everybody's life behind her."
There were few smiles in the winner's circle from trainer Michael Matz and jockey Edgar Prado, who endured similar heartbreak when Barbaro took a devastating misstep in the Preakness Stakes in May.
Barbaro's injury ended his career, and he is still recovering.
"I've been in that situation and nobody ever likes to see that happen. It's very hard," Matz said.
Pine Island is trained by Shug McGaughey and owned by brother and sister Odgen Mills Phipps and Cynthia Phipps, whose family's racing roots go back three generations.
Round Pond, who won by 4 1/2 lengths, paid $29.80 to win at 13-1 odds in the field of 14. The 4-year-old filly covered 1 1-8 miles in 1:50.50.
Jockey Corey Nakatani aboard Balletto lodged a foul objection against Asi Siempre and Julien Leparoux. As a result, Asi Siempre was disqualified from second to fourth.
Happy Ticket moved up to second from third, while Balletto was placed third after finishing fourth.
Pine Island's fatality was reminiscent of Go for Wand's gruesome breakdown in the 1990 Distaff at Belmont Park.
Just past the sixteenth-pole, Go For Wand snapped her right front ankle and tossed jockey Randy Romero toward the outside rail.
Before a stunned crowd, Go For Wand got up and hobbled on three legs, with the mangled part of her fourth limb dangling grotesquely before she collapsed. She was euthanized in front of the grandstand.

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