08/11/2012 4:04PM

Del Mar: Stewards set hearing on disputed claim of euthanized horse


DEL MAR, Calif. – The disputed claim of Elivette, who was euthanized after suffering catastrophic injuries following a race at Del Mar on Aug. 3, will be the subject of a hearing by Del Mar’s stewards, representing the California Horse Racing Board, on Aug. 22, a board spokesman confirmed Saturday.

Elivette, a 3-year-old filly, broke both sesamoid bones in a front leg during the running of the final race that day. After being transported off the track in a horse ambulance, she was subsequently euthanized. According to a new racing board rule enacted earlier this year, had Elivette been euthanized on the track, the claim – for $12,500 – would have been voided. But since she was euthanized minutes later off the racecourse, the claim went through.

Steve Rothblum, acting as stable manager for Demitrius Xanthos’s Fortuna Ranch Racing – which claimed Elivette – filed a protest with the racing board regarding the claim, believing the claim should not have gone through because the injuries resulted in Elivette being euthanized.

Jerry Hollendorfer trained Elivette for the race, and Doug O’Neill would have been her new trainer.

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The Thoroughbred Owners of California this past week called for a suspension of the new rule until it is modified. Prior to this new rule, horses were considered claimed by new connections as soon as they broke from the gate of their race.

Dr. Ryan Carpenter, the private veterinarian who took radiographs of Elivette’s injured limb minutes after the race, said that although “the rule has good intentions,” he believes “there’s too many gray areas, and until they are addressed, it’s best to go back” to the old rule.

Carpenter said Elivette had “complete displacement of the suspensory apparatus” in her injured limb. He said for Elivette to have survived, she would have needed surgery similar to what Barbaro had after he was severely injured in the 2006 Preakness Stakes. Barbaro injured a hind leg, whereas Elivette injured a front leg.

“We don’t do those surgeries very often,” said Carpenter, who is a surgeon. “They’re very involved and they’re very expensive, and there’s a wide variety of complications. You have to make a decision that’s in the best interests of the horse.”

Carpenter said it is best for the state vet to not, in his words, “have to make a snap decision” regarding euthanization on the racetrack, but he believes the spirit of the rule should protect claimants if a horse suffers a catastrophic injury, regardless of whether the horse is euthanized on the track or minutes later.

John Flynn More than 1 year ago
I Feel Bad for the Horse. But, You Claim It You Eat It!!! She was euthanized in the Horse Ambulance. I'm sure Mr ONeiil or his Brother - Dennis checked the Horses Legs on the way in & out of the Paddock.
Juan Arrieta More than 1 year ago
the problem is the fact the track vet let that horse suffer that long. They said the horse was suffering and had no chance to make it.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
IAN More than 1 year ago
take this scam somewhere else
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
Elivette : most likely got injured leaving the starting gate after the miss step . Many people were in view of claiming Elivette . All signssaid go . It was just one of those miss q that happen . Elivette was as sound - fit as possible . I dont see what the real problem is here : O'Neill , the trak DID WHAT WAS BEST AT THAT TIME ! Make 100% sure by Xrays before taking matters in your own hands IF BY CHANCE Elivette ( could have been saved ) ! Elivette was already given a shot for any PAIN : so just drop the suffer arguement . Del Mar handled this matter with PERFECTION and I am glad to see that they at least gave Elivette that split second chance thought first .
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
The horse broke down on the track. Plain and simple. This would be much simpler if Mr Hollendorfer and his owners would just do the right thing in the spirit of the rule. If the horse would have won they surely would have no problem taking the purse money. It is always a shame when money triumphs character.
Jim Bojee More than 1 year ago
Make the whole thing very simple. Since the rule states that if the horse gets any part of the purse, it goes to the owner of the horse who entered the horse in the race. So, it would make sense that the horse still belongs to that owner. Once the race is over & the horse appears to come out sound after the race, then only the horse should be given to the new owners connection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where do you draw the line? The horse clipped heals. The Horse got a cut or run down.. You are going to leave room for lawyers. You claim a horse and he breaks out of the gate, he is your horse. Its called gambling. I claimed a horse and she came out of the race with a bad ankle. I made a broodmare out of her. I put a pin in her ankle amd went on. If I put her down, I can get my money back. Dad Idea. Del Mar, please don't make a mistake.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
There is a big difference between friction burns from the track surface and nick and scrapes from bumping here. The filly broke down without incidence. Is O'Neil at fault for not researching her enough prior to the claim? Did the vet do their job in morning exam? Was it just over-exursion and stress which caused this? From an old school standpoint and the concept claims being a part of gambling I concede your points. And nobody wants attorneys determining thede things all the time. But for the horse well being and for potential owners, something has to be done.
John More than 1 year ago
Agree 100%, don't want to play the game, then don't claim. One way or another the rule has to be clear, lawyers should not be involved in the interpretation.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Once the horse leaves the track, it is the new owners and their vets which make the call. If this horse passed morning soundness exams performed by the track-employed state vets, then subsequently had a catastrophic life ending injury in the race the claim should be void. Accidents do happen. But in the incidence of death, the claim should be void. The problem is that nobody wants to admit possible fault here. The track is protecting itself by protecting their vet. The new owner is out over $12,500. The old rule and the new rule do not protect potential new owners of this sport. From a money standpoint,the quickest way to get involved in racing is by claim or private sale of horses in competition. Private sale allows for potential new owners to vet-out a horse. In the claim box, new owners are reliant upon the track vets to allow for sound horses to run. To be fair, this and all future claims of this nature should be void.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Dr Carpenter has it exactly right. Do for the animal.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
I agree. I would say that both of these trainers have plenty of money and the puny amount they are bickering about seems silly. O;Neil made plenty on IHA didn't he.
jg777 More than 1 year ago
The owners paid the claim money for the horse, not O'Neil and you have no idea how much money those owners have.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Chad. I agree. Bandolim just got euthanized after a 2nd place finish in todays 5th. Eighth horse of the meet so far. Would you encourage an owner to claim here now under current legislation?
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Sesamoids again. Note to track. Hard surfaces. Poor vet checks.
Donna Hjort More than 1 year ago
I agree with u completely in that if horse is claimed, and is put down after the race, being on or off track, it should be a voided claim; this crap about it being vanned off and then put down is a bad situation which is gonna cause alot lawsuits and un needed problems
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Not to mention suffering for the Horse...
Mike Cavanagh More than 1 year ago
Decision should be in best interest of the horse. Period.