ARCADIA, Calif. (CNS) – Geaux Rocket Ride, a 3-year-old colt who was scheduled to compete in the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Saturday but suffered a serious injury during a weekend workout, was euthanized Wednesday.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we report that Geaux Rocket Ride has finally found peace at the recommendation of the medical team,” said a statement from the colt’s owner, Pin Oak Stud. “His mind and soul never gave in, but his body did never recovered from the operation. He was very unresponsive after the operation and was unable to stand up. He fought hard and our team of vets tried everything they could.”
“We are grateful for the support we have received from everyone. We made sure he knew how much he was loved. Geaux Rocket Ride was the first member of our Pin Oak family and we will never forget him. We will miss you forever, Rocket.
Breeders’ Cup officials released a statement saying, “The tremendous effort put into Geaux Rocket Ride’s medical care following his injury on Saturday is a testament to his team’s deep commitment to his well-being . Our thoughts are with Pin Oak Stud LLC, Richard Mandella and everyone affected by his loss.”
The stallion seriously injured his foreleg during a workout at Santa Anita on Saturday and later underwent surgery to repair what Breeders’ Cup officials described as an “open condylar fracture with intersesmoid ligament damage.”
But Pin Oak Stud posted on social media Monday that Geaux Rocket Ride was “having an unexpected reaction to surgery and is not recovering as hoped. He doesn’t seem to be in pain and is eating. Our boy is still fighting hard, so we will continue to fight for him.
Another Breeders’ Cup Classic competitor, Arcangelo, dropped out of the race Tuesday due to a problem with the stallion’s left hind foot. In a comment posted on Santa Anita’s social media, trainer Jena Antonucci acknowledged the horse’s foot issue, saying “it’s not fully resolving and we’re running out of time” to successfully treat the issue before the race.
Santa Anita introduces new technology to protect horsesAs Santa Anita Park deals with the fallout from dozens of horse deaths last year, racing officials will demonstrate new technology that can identify pre-existing conditions that could lead to horse injuries.
She insisted the horse was doing “honestly great” and was bouncing around his stable, but needed more time for treatment.
“Here the horse will always come first, no matter what happens,” Antonucci said.
Arcangelo was the morning’s second-favorite player in Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at 7-2 odds.
Kentucky Derby winner Mage was expected to compete in the Classic but never traveled to Santa Anita “after coming down with a fever last weekend,” ESPN reported.
On Tuesday, Practical Move, a 3-year-old colt entered in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, also scheduled for Saturday, died in Santa Anita, presumably of heart disease.
Practical Move had just returned from training at the track when the incident occurred. Its rider was uninjured and the horse was immediately treated by veterinarians from the California Horse Racing Board, 1/ST Racing and Breeder’s Cup, officials said.
Practical Move last ran on October 6th. He won four straight races, including the Santa Anita Derby, the San Felipe Stakes and the Los Alamitos Futurity.
He earned five career wins, one second place and two third place finishes in eight starts and earned $923,000. He was trained by Tim Yakteen.
Breeders’ Cup racing – one of the sport’s largest and most prestigious events – takes place Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita.
Before Practical Move’s death on Tuesday, 12 horses had died of racing or training injuries at Santa Anita this year, and another eight racehorses died of “other” causes, according to the California Horse Racing Board. Santa Anita officials have touted safety improvements that have reduced the annual death toll since 2019, when 42 horses died at the track, sparking widespread debate about safety issues at Santa Anita and about horse racing in general.
Breeders’ Cup officials emphasized in a statement on Saturday that they had taken all necessary safety precautions for this weekend’s event.
“In the lead-up to the World Championships, the Breeders’ Cup worked closely with Santa Anita Park, the California Horse Racing Board and our veterinary team to ensure that every Breeders’ Cup runner was fit to race,” organizers said.
“The Breeders’ Cup veterinary team has also coordinated with supervising and racing veterinarians across the country to thoroughly review the veterinary records of all potential Breeders’ Cup competitors beginning in early October. This enhanced veterinary testing protocol is intended to ensure, as much as possible, that every horse that traveled to Santa Anita Park for the World Championships was well suited for racing and training.
“Safety always comes first, which is why the Breeders’ Cup and industry leaders like CHRB and 1/ST Racing have long been supporters of the uniform safety and integrity reforms that ultimately became part of HISA. We are continually evaluating and updating our safety and integrity screening measures so we can continue to provide the safest racing environment possible.”