05/14/2008 11:00PM

Eight Belles's necropsy report released


Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles sustained compound fractures of both forelegs at the fetlock joints before being euthanized after the May 3 race, but she had no disease affecting her heart or major organs, a necropsy has concluded.

The necropsy also found no pre-existing bone abnormalities, said Dr. Lafe Nichols, chief state veterinarian for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, which ordered the necropsy.

The KHRA, which released the necropsy results Thursday, said that that routine drug-test results are still pending. That testing is taking place at the KHRA’s official laboratory at Iowa State University.

The Unbridled’s Song filly’s owner, Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms, and trainer Larry Jones have vehemently denied that she was racing on steroids or anything other than Lasix, also known by its trade name Salix. Salix is a diuretic that is commonly and legally used on the racetrack to reduce blood pressure in the lungs during exercise.

Animal-rights groups protesting horse racing have accused Eight Belles’s connections of administering the filly steroids or drugs and also have called for suspecsion of jockey Gabriel Saez, asserting that he should have known something was wrong during the race. The filly broke down suddenly after the finish line while galloping out from her second-place finish behind Big Brown.

The necropsy “found no disease of condition affecting the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems or other major organs,” according to the KHRA release of the necropsy report.

The necropsy took place at the Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.