01/09/2015 3:46PM

Aqueduct cuts short Friday card; two horses injured


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Racing was canceled Friday at Aqueduct following the second race after two horses broke down and jockeys complained of blowing snow and some ice particles in the track.

It was the third cancellation of the week after Wednesday’s and Thursday’s cards were scrapped due to extreme cold.

Two horses broke down - one fatally - during Friday’s second race. Apex, a 5-year-old gelding, fell entering the far turn of the six-furlong starter-allowance race. Apex, making his first start off the claim by Steve Klesaris, unseated jockey Angel Arroyo and proceeded to run until the three-sixteenths pole. He was found to have a fractured left front ankle and had to be euthanized on track.

Angel Arroyo, the rider of Apex, was taken to first-aid, and was just a bit dizzy, according to first-aid personnel. Arroyo was released, though he will have to be cleared by doctors in order to ride on Saturday.

Italian Rules, a 10-year-old son of Tribal Rule making his 40th career start and third in 30 days, was pulled up about three-sixteenths of a mile into the race by jockey Andre Worrie. Italian Rules, who had won five of his last seven starts, had a boot placed on his right foreleg and was vanned off.

Naipaul Chatterpaul, the trainer of Italian Rules, said he believes the horse has a torn right front suspensory that while career-ending was not deemed life-threatening.

“He won’t be fine to race again, but he should be fine to ride around in someone’s backyard,” Chatterpaul said.

The wind picked up during the day, and was blowing snow from the turf course into the faces of the jockeys, making for a potentially dangerous situation.

Junior Alvarado, who didn’t ride either of the first two races, said that one rider came back from the first race with his goggles “completely broken” due to kickback.

Alvarado said that jockeys who rode the second race complained of the winds.

“Every horse was five to six wide, and it’s not really safe to ride like that,” Alvarado said.

Apex is the 11th racing-related fatality in 20 days of racing since the inner track opened on Dec. 3. Nine of those horses were euthanized. One died from a broken neck suffered in a spill, another from a cardiovascular collapse.

The high fatality rate this winter brings back memories of 2011-12 when there 21 equine fatalities during the inner-track meet. Horsemen have not complained that the inner tack is unsafe, and no one is sure why this winter's injury rate is so high.

“I can’t say I blame the racetrack," said trainer Rick Violette, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, who has horses stabled at Aqueduct. "I haven’t had an issue, little or big. None of the people with substantial horses over here think it’s the racetrack.”

Marc Rogala More than 1 year ago
Beside Aqueduct was always a DUMP track!
Marc Rogala More than 1 year ago
joe More than 1 year ago
I have followed Italian Rules in my Virtual Stable for quite a while now, ever since his days in Southern California, and he is a nice and talented race horse that was not being treated like a nice and talented race horse, especially at the age of 10 now. I had a very bad feeling that he was going to end up injured due to the lack of time between his races... they were trying to milk him for all he was worth... and that includes various connections, as he has changed hands several times in the last couple of years. Every horse should be taken care of to the highest standard, but here you have a horse who was in the top 2 percentile nationally in wins and winning percentage last year at age 9, and was he was not being treated with the care and dignity that he deserved. Why would you race a 9 YO (now 10 YO) horse 3 times in 30 days, and why would the racing commission, veterinarians, and stewards allow for this? I watched his previous race, and when he was being galloped back to the Winner's Circle he took a bad step and the jockey had to take him up very dramatically. I believe that he could have been injured at that point in time, and was never checked over thoroughly. I knew something was wrong with him yesterday from the moment the gates opened because he always breaks well and goes to the lead, Yesterday he continued to fall back from the start. I think that this could have been prevented through due diligence and a higher level of care, not to mention rules that govern racing a horse, especially an older horse, so frequently.
Mark Howell More than 1 year ago
sir please look at the current trainer
mike More than 1 year ago
Joe,well stated and I agree with your comments.
Connie Hampton More than 1 year ago
According to this statement Panza also said that in recent weeks racing secretary Dan Eidson has come up with a list of 15 to 20 horses that he will no longer permit to race here Why don't they releas the names of those horses. So we can track and see what tracks they end up at. We can also see what trainers were running unsound horses.
Steve Reed More than 1 year ago
NYRA shut it down in the winter. Greed is killing The Sport of Kings.
Colette Mulhall More than 1 year ago
Now is the time to pay close attention to 'Italian Rules'. This is exactly the time, after a career ending injury, that many horses tend to simply disappear & nobody ever seems to know what ever happened to them. In most cases,the horses are brought to a general auction, like New Holland, & the horses are "bought" & end up in a feedlot destined for the Canadian or Mexican slaughter houses. On a regular basis, newly retired horses, some injured & some not, are found standing in a slaughter bound feedlot within a few days of retirement. Some are found & get rescued. Too many fall thru the cracks & are forever gone. I pray the "plan" is NOT to bring "italian Rule" to an auction. Believe me, maybe 2 or 3 in 100 horses really do end up living a good life in someone's backyard. Retiring horses connections generally hire a van to ship the horse to the auction. The connections never go to the auctions. I do believe many of them really do think their horse was bid on & that the horse went on to live a happy backyard life. They are always shocked & devastated if or when they find out that that is not what happened to their horse. When they get a phone call that their "lucky" horse was found in a slaughter bound feedlot & need rescuing or have been rescued the connections are very often in disbelief. The horses are often located thru the horse's lip tattoo... but not every horse can be checked.
Connie Hampton More than 1 year ago
If you care so much why don't you adopt him
Colette Mulhall More than 1 year ago
I have adopted several & I have helped network to find a home for many more. I've also donated towards the cost of the rescues & have assisted with the cost of the horses transport to their new homes. We need more people helping. I do practice what I preach. Are you helping? If you are, then, I thank you. If you are not, then why not? We can all make the time. It takes truly caring. I work full time as a registered nurse in an extremely busy Emergency Room, am a single parent to a mildly autistic teenager who has learning disabilities & we still keep him maintaining A's & B's. Raising a mildly autistic child with the goal of him reaching adult independence that enables him to live a full productive life is a full time job that doesn't end at age 18 or 21. I have been doing it on my own since just after his 7th birthday. I also take care of my 90 yr old mom who lives on her own but needs to be brought to doctor's appt., the store, the post office, the bank, etc. ...all her errands since she does not drive. I also am going back to school, myself, to earn my Master's Degree. Right now, I can only fit in one class at a time. But, the goal is to keep moving forward. I can't currently take in amy more horses. But, I do make time to get online & network to see who is in need of help...what horse needs help...reach out to someone who may be able to help...donate a few dollars to a fund raising trying to get a horse out of a feedlot & to its new home. There is a lot that any one of us can do...no matter how busy we are in our own lives. A few minutes of time in our lives may not seem like much but to one horse it could very well mean everything...his very life.
mike More than 1 year ago
Why with the smart knucklehead attitude Connie?
Mike More than 1 year ago
Violette is the one who insists that we have this garbage winter racing - now he's going to find a solution?
Chuck Berger More than 1 year ago
As a few have suggested, the reason for the breakdowns are the fact that horses with physical problems are still running when they should be turned out. "R and R' is the best cure. "Time heals all wounds." When will the powers that be come to understand that the lives of the jockey and horse is in peril. Do away with all the drugs. I remember well when Aqueduct closed at the end of November and stayed closed until March. This needs to be reinstated to give the horse an opportunity to right itself without drugs being injected into it. As an aside, I don't and won't bet on Aqueduct in the winter.
Connie Hampton More than 1 year ago
Time only helps if you know why they are getting time. Most horses break down after a break.
scott More than 1 year ago
@Connie...... Anything to support claim that most breakdown after a break? How long a break?
Walter More than 1 year ago
Italian Rules was one hell of a hard knocker! He won quite a few races in SoCal. I didn't know he was running in NY. God blessed this horse with a big heart! I hope he is also blessed with a long, healthy retirement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Italian Rules, a 10-year-old son of Tribal Rule making his 40th career start and third in 30 days"--- But no one knows why there are horses getting hurt or killed at Aqueduct. And Brutus was an honorable man.