Updated on 10/10/2015 12:37PM

Grade 1 winner Rock Fall euthanized due to injury

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

Harry Mollineaux More than 1 year ago
I agree with all the comments from all the horseplayers and would like to add one more. The breeding for the last four,five decades is all about speed speed and more speed and the result is the good horses barely run and when they do you hope they can make it from the barn to the track without getting hurt. Add all the drugs legal and illegal the Todd Pletcher, Wayne Lukas and assmussens of the sport who run young horses into the ground and you have a recipe for disaster.Thats why you have empty racetracks most of the time the horseplayers have had it with these guys!!!
Frank More than 1 year ago
I agree with you completely...This problem is much much bigger than one track having a problem with a surface. Focus people and listen more to Harry - He has stated the real issues...
mike More than 1 year ago
Harry I agree, the trainers you included I've hated them for years.
Chuck Seddio More than 1 year ago
1 maybe 2 but NOT 4 in a week,can hear all the poly pundits coming out against dirt again, ala barbaro. something is seriously wrong with the surface and to have the sports biggest 2 days on this surface is going to be a disaster if any horses breaks down during the cup races. too bad it is too late to change venues,why not ,since in distance so close,go to churchill and cancel keenland,if they want run the turf races at keenland and dirt at churchill. this is serious,no way 4 horses in 1 week.
redboy More than 1 year ago
Condolences to all his connections, trainer ,owner etc. Another truly amazing horse with a huge heart who's left way to soon. Rest in Peace . Rock
Donald Martiniak More than 1 year ago
I would not be surprised if Keeneland has souped up the track to get faster times in advance of the Breeders Cup. It's common knowledge Churchill Downs soups up their course in preparation for the Derby, though they deny it. Something is not right with the course and they better figure it out before the Cup arrives. We do not need more calamaties on Breeders Cup day--remember Go For Wand, Shaker Knit, Mr, Nickerson, Mr. Brooks, Exogenous, Landseer, Funfair, Secret Compass, and Pine Island, not to mention Eight Belles in the 2008 Derby. Fast times and track records are nothing compared to the safety of the horses and jockeys. Wake up Keeneland, and fix the track!!
VICTOR More than 1 year ago
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
This is unacceptable. You shouldnt be running horses on an unsafe surface.
mike More than 1 year ago
Totally agree Joel.
Frank More than 1 year ago
Sad to hear for the horse. Speaking as a 40+yr vet of the sport -- this is the true reason why the sport is dying -- many gambling options now and ppl believe its to dangerous for horses. I know its always been said its part of the sport -- but its not right. Wish I had the answer because I love to watch and bet on the horses competing at the top levels....
Jamie Murphy More than 1 year ago
I didn't even hear about Skyring until I read this article. how many has there been since the dirt track was installed last year, anyone know???
Marilyn Shively More than 1 year ago
If I were the connections of these horses I would be communicating with the powers that be at Keeneland and tell them I will not be bringing my horse to your track until you investigate what is going on- there is clearly something going on with that surface and they need to find out what it is. this is horrible about this horse and the others who have needlessly perished.
mike More than 1 year ago
Marilyn,enjoy reading your comments. I'm not welcome at BloodHorse any longer,yet "know it all" individuals like DeeREff got banned months ago and wormed her way back on using a different name-Neigh Sayer.
mark More than 1 year ago
wow and the breeders sup races comming go back to SA or give belmont a try this is insane sad day in racing , this is the same track that cut short wise dans comeback makes you wonder hmmmmmmmmmmmm..