Associated PressRead 2 minutes
BALTIMORE — A horse trained by Bob Baffert went down the street and collapsed on the track after releasing his jockey during Saturday’s Preakness undercard race.
Hours before the end of the second leg of the Triple Crown, favorite Havnamltdown surged ahead, dropped jockey Louis Saz on his back during the sixth race and went on to run in the final lap.
The 3-year-old colt was examined by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Dion Benson and others who determined the injury was inoperable and the horse was put down, according to a statement released by the track’s owner and operator 1ST Racing.
Saez was conscious and taken to the hospital for evaluation, complaining of leg pain, the track said. He was attended to by paramedics on the track for several minutes before being taken on a stretcher and into an ambulance.
The fatality comes after the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs was marred by the deaths of seven horses in 10 days.
Havnameltdown, the favorite at 4-5 and broken inside the No. 1 post, beat Ryvit from gate 2 and broke a step slower.
The crowd at Pimlico Race Course gasped when the horse stumbled before the final turn and threw him into mourning. The horse was led behind some black barriers under the supervision of the track staff in the home stretch at Pimlico.
In an unlikely scene, at the same time Saez and Havnameltdown were watching, 2Pac’s “California Love” blasted from infield speakers set up around the scene. The music stops at the next race.
Baffert 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Spirit of Medina has horses running in the Preakness weekend for the first time in two years after returning from suspension for a failed drug test. As part of Churchill Downs’ decision, he has been unable to enter a horse in the Derby for the past two years. In 2022, the Preakness or Belmont may not have any due to Kentucky’s 90-day ban imposed by Maryland and New York.
One of the horses, the Arabian Lion, won the previous race. Baffert is going to emulate National Treasure in the Preakness.
On Friday, Panamanian Saez, who turned 31, had to ride first-timers in the Preakness. But that horse was scratched on vets advice due to a problem with his left hind ankle.
In the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Saez rode top safety on the line at first, but stewards overturned the win and dropped the colt to 17th for getting in the way of several horses. Saiz was accused of interference and suspended.
He was aboard Kentucky Derby champion Magee when he finished first in the Florida Derby earlier this year. Saez’s horse Tapit Tris finished seventh in the Derby two weeks ago at Churchill Downs.
Owned by Michael Pegram, Carl Watson and Paul Wightman, Havnameltdown had won four of his six career starts prior to this race. Most recently, he finished second in the Saudi Derby in February.