10/26/2013 10:55AM

Breeders' Cup Sprint: Points Offthebench euthanized following workout breakdown

Email
Barabara D. Livingston
Pointsoffthebench schools in the Santa Anita paddock on Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – An absolute pall was cast Saturday morning at Santa Anita when the star sprinter Points Offthebench suffered a catastrophic injury near the sixteenth pole on the main track when going through what was supposed to be his final workout toward the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Mike Smith was aboard Points Offthebench, who was breezing just outside of a workmate, when the 4-year-old gelding suddenly broke down in his right foreleg, creating an inordinately loud, sickening sound and throwing Smith to the dirt. The jockey was up within seconds and was the first to attend to the prone horse, who was euthanized about 15 minutes later.

Tim Yakteen, the gelding’s trainer, happened to be directly across from the scene of the accident when watching the workout from atop a flight of grandstand steps. He immediately ran down to the stricken horse, along with his wife, HRTV broadcaster Millie Ball, who had been watching with him.

"Anytime you lose one, it's tough," Yakteen said later on Saturday morning. "It's very sad."

[BREEDERS’ CUP 2013: See DRF’s top contenders]

Smith was not injured but was very upset, understandably.

The accident occurred at about 7:45 a.m. Pacific and halted training for about 30 minutes at a time when a number of works toward the Breeders’ Cup had been scheduled. With quite a few fans among those on site in the area of Clockers’ Corner, two curtains eventually were used in shielding the ghastly sight from view.

Points Offthebench, bred in California, was going to be the program favorite for the BC Sprint next Saturday, Nov. 2. Bred in California by Gary Rocks and owned by Donnie Crevier and Charles Martin, he won 6 of 8 starts for earnings of $514,940. His status as the likely favorite stemmed largely from back-to-back victories in Grade 1 races in the final two starts of his career, the July 28 Bing Crosby at Del Mar and the Oct. 5 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen

RX More than 1 year ago
i dont understand we can fix a human leg but we cant fix a horse leg?? its not fair i feel we use them then throw them away its not right.
Diana Levy More than 1 year ago
There are many reasons why the two aren't comparable, starting with a human can stay off his/her feet for 6 weeks if necessary so there's no worry about laminitis with them. But That only comes into play when the injury is even repairable. Since PotB fell and didn't get up I'm going to make an assumption of the severity, especially since they probably would have done anything to try and save him. He most likely severed all the support apparatus and corresponding arteries and veins. Meaning that there would be no blood flow to the limb below the injured section. Once that happens there is no hope. Horses lower limbs have very poor circulation to begin with, that along with their delicate digestive system, is part of makes them so fragile. The only reason Dean Richardson even did the surgery on Barbaro is that he found good pulses in his lower limb, meaning, as horrible as his injury was, he hadn't severed anything and he had a small chance to survive. As horrible as the photos are, if you look up Go For Wand, there are close up pictures of her leg that show what it looks like when the leg "snaps off" (which is probably what happened to PotB). You cannot save legs injured like that. Even trying will put the horse through intense suffering with no hope of survival. Only amputation could even be a thought and you need a stable situation to do that. A racetrack breakdown doesn't provide that situation.
Steve Schroeder More than 1 year ago
This horse was about to be the favorite in a race with a million $ purse. He had millions more in his future, potentially. Do you really think they wouldn't have exhausted every conceivable possibility to save him?
Dac More than 1 year ago
As tragic as this was, don't get me wrong. But if he was to have broken down, it was best if it was during a workout, rather than during the race where it would have been viewed by millions as well as the potential of other horses and jockeys getting hurt when he would have broken down...rip potb
Barbara More than 1 year ago
I am deeply sadden for your lost of Potb. Charlie I know and saw what a special horse he was. There is just no telling.................RIP lower club/go Red Sox Tony G
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Just how the he// do these freaky breakdowns happen. Very sad news for the connections and another loss on the heels of Sonic Dancer and Dullahan. Rest in peace, PotB, you were amazing. Join your friends in heaven's fields.
LauraB More than 1 year ago
How horrible, I really liked this beautiful guy. Had a lot of heart. I'm glad MIKE SMITH wasn't injured - devastating for him emotionally. My condolences to his connections.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
What's going on with the racing surface at Santa Anita. Have all or most breakdowns been there??? Rest in peace.
StockPicker More than 1 year ago
I love horse racing and everything it has to offer, however moments like this really stink. Whoever says jockeys have no feelings just look at how Mike Smith responded. He was obviously deeply saddened.
Steven Cooke More than 1 year ago
Very saddening. My heart goes out to those connected with this horse.We are constantly reminded that I'm addition to beautiful, powerful and brave, they are also fragile.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Very sad indeed.
Mark Whalen More than 1 year ago
Out of respect, DRF, please remove POTB from your Breeders' Cup handicap.