Updated on 08/01/2014 11:19PM

Filly's collapse leads to long delay


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The 3-year-old filly Lavender Road was in stable condition at a nearby equine hospital Wednesday after suffering from head trauma and heat stroke, according to her trainer, Abigail Adsit.

Lavender Road, who was scheduled to run in the seventh race, a starter allowance for horses who had won their maiden for a claiming tag of $50,000 or less, was ordered a late scratch by Dr. Anthony Verderosa, the chief examining veterinarian for the New York Racing Association. Jockey Junior Alvarado, who had ridden Lavender Road in her last start and who was on her in the post parade, said he told Verderosa he didn’t like the way the filly was warming up, adding, “She was making a weird noise. She wasn’t herself.”

After the other horses completed the race, Lavender Road was being led off the track when she collapsed near the gap where horses enter the track from the paddock. The area is well within view of the public, many of whom gathered around to watch as vets and track personnel tended to the filly.

When Lavender Road attempted to get up, she hit her head against the padding on the rail, Adsit said, suffering head trauma. Over the course of the next hour, a disoriented Lavender Road attempted to get up 10 times, ultimately falling each time.

“The heat stroke caused her to fall down,” Adsit said. “She kept getting up because she was trying to fight her way through it.”

The decision was eventually made to sedate Lavender Road, and she was placed on a mat, slid into the equine ambulance, and transported to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, just a few miles from the track.

Adsit said Lavender Road did not have any other injuries aside from the head trauma.

“That’s going to be her mountain to climb,” Adsit said.

Adsit praised the work of Verderosa, Dr. Scott Palmer, NYRA’s equine medical director, and her own vet, Tara O’Brien, for their roles in attempting to help Lavender Road.

“Everybody was trying to use their best judgment,” Adsit said. “Dr. Verderosa was nothing but helpful and made the best decision given what we knew at the time.”

The incident caused Saratoga’s eighth race to be delayed 53 minutes.