Updated on 10/10/2015 12:37PM

Grade 1 winner Rock Fall euthanized due to injury

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Rock Fall (left) wins the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on Aug. 1.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rock Fall, a multiple Grade 1 winner who figured as one of the favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Oct. 31, was euthanized after suffering a catastrophic leg injury while galloping out from a workout Saturday on the main track at Keeneland.

The 4-year-old colt had just completed a moderate breeze, going five furlongs in 1:02.80 in company, when he fell past the wire. Sources reported no major injuries to the exercise rider or other horses.

“We are heartbroken to confirm our Rock Fall sustained a life-ending training injury this morning at Keeneland,” owner Stonestreet Stables posted on its Twitter feed.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Rock Fall was breezing for the first time since winning a second straight Grade 1 race, the Sept. 26 Vosburgh at Belmont Park. The Speightstown colt was defeated in his April 2014 debut but had won all seven of his starts since then, ending with the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga and the Vosburgh. He earned $749,180.

The fatal breakdown was the fourth at Keeneland in about a week, and all involved stakes winners. During races Oct. 3, Shore Runner broke down on the dirt and Skyring on the turf; the following morning, Tacticus broke down while breezing on the dirt.

A new dirt surface replaced Polytrack as the main Keeneland surface in September 2014. Two racing-related fatalities were reported during the 2014 fall meet and none at the 2015 spring meet.

"We have our surface always tested before every race meet by Mick Peterson [executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory] and his group, and we always have for years," Keeneland vice president of racing W.B. Rogers Beasley said. "We talk to our horsemen, trainers, and jockeys all the time. They have all expressed complete confidence in our surface.”

– additional reporting by Nicole Russo