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Triumph and Tragedy during Preakness Weekend

Posted by Betonline Team on 5/25/2016 3:47:58 AM
Triumph and Tragedy during Preakness Weekend

Many of the joyful fans that filled Pimlico Race Course were in a celebratory mood. They watched Exaggerator pull away from third place finisher and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, spoiling his bid for the Triple Crown.

However, near the celebration and cheers was a tragedy. Two horses were dead from earlier races and the only people that knew were race organizers and fans who got the news off their cell phones.

Homeboykris, a nine-year-old gelding that ran in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, collapsed after having his photo taken in the winner’s circle after placing first in the opening race of the day. In the fourth race, four-year-old filly Pramedya collapsed on the track with a fractured left leg and was euthanized on the track. The long bone between the ankle and knee was shattered and there was an open would. Doctors determined surgery could not help the horse.

Her jockey, Daniel Centeno, fractured his right clavicle after being thrown to the turf. The track was inspected after the fall but officials said everything was fine. There were no incidents reported on the muddy track during the Preakness.

Those who do not like horseracing made stinging comments about how cruel the sport is. If Sea World is shutting down its whale exhibit and the Ringling Brothers Circus its elephant shows, then why not abandon horseracing?

It is a silly argument but extreme comments are commonplace during the Internet era. Horseracing will live on because it is a multi-billion dollar industry. Race organizers called it a tragic day but the show must go on. Athletes have died on the field and courts in football, basketball and hockey, yet no one screams to shut those sports down.

“It’s deflating,” Sal Sinatra, president of the Maryland Jockey Club told the Baltimore Sun. “You try to figure it out, go through so many steps to make sure the horses are OK. Things do happen.”

Roy and Gretchen Jackson are no strangers to putting a horse down. They also owned 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro who broke his leg during the Preakness two weeks later. They tried to figure out ways to save the horse but euthanized him later.

“We haven’t fully digested the whole thing,” Roy Jackson said. “But life goes on.”

Race experts estimate that deaths occur between one in 500 to 1,000 races, experts said. The Equine Injury Database said 31 horses died at Pimlico from 2009 to 2015.

Homeboykris was considered to be in good shape. He raced four times this season and reported no leg problems.

Meanwhile, the Preakness was a great success. The race set an attendance record and drew a 6.2 overnight rating, up seven percent from last year. That boost can be attributed to Nyquist, who was trying to become the second horse in a row after American Pharaoh to win the Triple Crown.

Nyquist trainer Doug O’Neill blamed himself for an aggressive start to the race, which seemed to wear him down. However, it appeared as if Exaggerator was coming on strip during the Kentucky Derby, but ran out of room to win the race.

Now comes the rubber match on June 11 in Belmont, New York and the media is likely to play up a rivalry between the two horses although we doubt they have spoken to each other.

“We have to play that up as horse racing aficionados,” said Exaggerator trainer Keith Desormeaux. “You lose a lot of luster after a Derby winner is beaten because the Triple Crown chance is annihilated. We have to play up the rivalry, I guess. Keep people interested. There’s no way it’s going to compare to American Pharaoh last year, but it’s going to be fun for those of us immediately involved.”

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