Two horses euthanized during Belmont Stakes weekend

Two horses euthanized during Belmont Stakes weekend
The 155th running of the Belmont Stakes was held on Saturday, June 10. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Two horses were euthanized at Belmont Park over the weekend, one in the immediate race following the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes June 10. 

Excursionniste sustained a catastrophic injury to his left front leg during Saturday evening’s 13th race and was humanely euthanized after being tended to by on-site veterinarians, Pat McKenna, NYRA vice president of communications, said in a statement. 

The next day, Mashnee Girl, which was racing in the first race of the evening, also suffered an injury to her left front leg before being humanely euthanized as well. 

Little Blue Bird Stables, which owned Excursionniste, said on Twitter they were “devastated” by the loss. 

There’s just no other word. He was our big, goofy, talented, crazy, 1 for 16 NYB superstar,” the tweet said. “We do everything as a team and will console as one for quite a while.”

The two fatal injuries over the weekend are the third and fourth to happen during racing at Belmont Park’s spring and summer meet this year, which started May 4. 

“NYRA’s comprehensive safety strategy is informed by the most advanced science and research in consultation with independent experts, veterinarians and horsemen,” McKenna said. “The health and safety of horses and jockeys competing at NYRA tracks is our highest priority and one that stands above all other considerations.”

Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, suspended operations last month in the wake of 12 horses dying in May. On the day of the 148th Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, last month, one horse was euthanized after the sixth race of the evening.

McKenna said the circumstances of the injuries will be reviewed by the New York State Gaming Commission and pointed out that the main dirt track and both courses are inspected before, during and after each race day. 

Since May 4, a total of 1,740 horses have started in 224 races at Belmont.

Last year, during 44 race days there were 3,097 starting horses over 419 races with six fatal injuries during racing at Belmont, a 0.19% occurrence. 

The park, which is also a year-round training center, had 39,413 timed workouts last year that saw 23 fatal injuries during training, a 0.06% occurrence. 

Live racing statistics for all of NYRA’s tracks last year, which include Belmont, Aqueduct Race Track in Queens and Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., show 196 race days, 1,855 races and 14,043 starting horses.

There were 23 fatal injuries during racing last year, a 0.17% occurrence. 

“In the course of investigating these injuries, necropsies will be performed at Cornell University with the results to be analyzed by Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) officials as well as the New York State Equine Medical Director,” McKenna said.

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