Updated on 09/02/2013 12:26AM

Saratoga: Saginaw euthanized after fracturing sesamoids

Tom Keyser
Saginaw was euthanized Friday after fracturing both sesamoids in his left foreleg during the running of the third race at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer David Jacobson stood a few yards away from where Saginaw was standing in his stall, munching on his hay rack as veterinarians performed X-rays on the gelding’s injured left foreleg.

“I can’t believe we’re standing here,” Jacobson said. “I thought we’d be back here after standing in the winner’s circle.”

A few minutes later disbelief turned to despair when Jacobson was told that Saginaw had fractured both sesamoid bones in his left ankle. Jacobson was advised that Saginaw, a 7-year-old gelding, would have to be euthanized.

“It’s a very sad day,” said Jacobson, who since March 2012 trained and owned Saginaw in partnership with Drawing Away Stable. “He brought us a lot of joy. It was an honor to work with a horse of his caliber.”

Saginaw, one of the more popular New York-bred geldings in recent time, suffered his injuries during the running of Friday’s third race, a highly anticipated optional claiming race where he was facing another stalwart, Caixa Eletronica, an 8-year-old horse who was making his 67th career start. The race was won by Bernie the Maestro in front-running fashion.

Saginaw, under Junior Alvarado, was in stalking position when he took a bad step leaving the seven-sixteenths pole and was pulled up. He was equipped with a boot on his left foreleg and vanned off to Jacobson’s barn, where he was made comfortable by his handlers until the veterinarians arrived to take X-rays.

“He’s got multiple comminuted sesamoid fractures,” Dr. Michael Galvin said.

Galvin talked about possible surgery where metal plates would be used to fuse the joints together. But Saginaw would endure pain over the next few months and there was no guarantee of survival.

“It was explained to me he’ll be in pain for two or three months, and there’s a very good chance he could develop founder,” Jacobson said. “It doesn’t seem to be the right thing to do based on the experts that have advised me.

“Money is not an issue,” Jacobson added. “It’s just the pain that he would go through.”

Saginaw, who raced for owner Ted Taylor and trainer Chad Brown before being claimed a few times, won 21 of 41 starts and earned $974,690. He had the bulk of his success for Jacobson and Drawing Away, who claimed him for $30,000 on March 8, 2012. Saginaw won 14 of 18 starts for those connections, including 10 stakes. In 2012, he won 10 races, equaling the most races won by any horse in North America for the year.

“He would be very hard to match,” Jacobson said. “Not only his accomplishments, but the way he did it. He had those races where he was beat, he refused to lose.”

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm really getting disgusted with those on here who cast the first stones. You ever known really good people whose son or daughter was killed in an auto accident while driving as a teenager? Did they push their child to drive? Did they neglect their child's upbringing in any way? I'm sure some of you would find in your over reactive imaginations some way to place blame on those closest to the situation. Even though you are very far removed from it. Accidents happen in life. Accept it. Move on. Life is a mystery. If you think you have it all figured out, you are just kidding yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very sad the ultimate race horse. When you look up a picture of a horse with heart Sag is it! Saddest day indeed!
James More than 1 year ago
ill admit it, I cried...what super horse, whar a shame
mikey More than 1 year ago
It is amazing how the hypers still crowing about the SPA....the quality of racing.....the quality of horses..... HEY GET A CLUE.....NOTHING BUT COUNTLESS PARADE OF SPRINT RACES..... that is because those are the horses we breed today......yes HORSE.....NOT THOROUGHBREDS..... The Spa is no different than Delmar......there is nothing special about it anymore....not too long ago the brag about not having maiden races....how you all soon forgot.....
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Build a track Mikey... Let's see how you do it.
mikey More than 1 year ago
why what for.....nobody goes there anymore except for a few races.....it's amazing how some still do not get it....or pretend not to get it....IT IS A DYING SPORT....a sport that bred itself to death.... i always hear chyt like that when the truth and facts are said......like as a customer I have to patronize anything..... hey this breeding industry is not getting NEW CUSTOMERS.....it is as simple as that....no owners and trainers are not customers.....but for some odd reason this industry does not get it...... NO CUSTOMERS.....NO BUSINESS.....
Jason More than 1 year ago
what a garbage post. Sounds like you couldn't handicap a Spa card to save your life.
mikey More than 1 year ago
the only ones calling garbage to what I post are those who still believes we breed classic distance horse.....give it a rest....the great races has been shortened to make these milers not to look like crap.....now the personal ensign is what 9 furlongs....miler RA would have won that in 2010.....too bad she had to run another furlong..... oh handicap what? countless parade of turf sprints and dirt sprints.... seriously.....take out casino money out of this industry and you got what?
mark oleary More than 1 year ago
I hate to hear these sad stories. I,ve had many horses that had to be euthanized after catastrophic injuries, and each one hurts very much. My condolences to all of Saginaw's handlers, especially the owners and Mr Jacobson. We all know its a tough game with euphoric highs and brutal lows. Your horse was a warrior, a great runner, a wonderful creature of God, and will be sorely missed.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
To hell with the owners and Trainers... It's the Grooms, Gallop boys and Hot Walkers that know the Horses best. Here's to them and here's to the Spirit of the Horse.
Anthony Carone More than 1 year ago
Most of these comments off base. Ed Boden , manager of Drawing away is a very caring individual, He is most likely devastated and would have done anything to keep this great horse going, and has the means to do it... Jacobson is obviously a great trainer . his record speaks for itself. He us also a millionaire and would have done anything to keep this horse around. He knows they only come once in a lifetime. I know all this because Ed boden was my partner for a few years and learned everything about the no expense concept as general manager of my stable. No trainer in NY wanted the responsibility of taking a percentage instead of the silly day money these silly owners pay. Jacobson did take the chance and rest is history. Boden and I parted company in 2009 because we could not expand due to Charlestown stall policy. I thought I could do it alone. I was wrong. although Boden wouldn't know a horse's tail from a horse's head he is a brilliant "cold" salesman. The racing industry needs more men like him. He did something radical and new in New York and it worked brilliantly. We went downhill after he left mainly because of his marketing skills. I know going from one trainer to super trainer may have helped but I am proud that MY ideas although never accepted at CT has produced such a successful racing operation. By the way I have 9 mares in foal to Saginaw's Sire Peruvian some with Devil Bag line . His exciting racing may be gone but his blood lives on......
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nicholas More than 1 year ago
I don't believe that's true I remember creme de la fete he had his own retirement day and I think he retired to the inmate program at walkill or the thoroughbred retirement home
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nicholas More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure but I remember some show where they visited creme de la fete was a long time ago but I remember what a wonderful horse he was--
nicholas More than 1 year ago
Just looked up an article by Steve Christ In the New York Times in 1985 -- I was right he had a retirement day and went to the thoughbred retirement home near walkill
nicholas More than 1 year ago
Just dug up the commerative button nyra gave out for his retirement-- think I was 13 at the time
Lucy Ohannessian More than 1 year ago
You have to question what exactly "must stop." This was a horse on the top of his game doing what he loved doing. He was not a horse of past glory sucked dry, not a horse whose career they were trying to revive, not a horse whose form lines gave you pause. He was a horse doing what he loved, doing it well and enjoying it. Unfortunately, sometimes this happens. Off what the season has been, perhaps the track is to blame; Saratoga Snacks was essentially scratched out of the G1 Forego for Sciacca being too heartsick over what happened to Saginaw. Saginaw was bigger than his trainer, bigger than his owners....very beloved in NY. And no one there was thinking this to be anything more than a horse in his prime and in love with his life. Very hard to make any case for writing being on the wall with this one.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
You are full of wrong info russell and that ain't all.
james malone More than 1 year ago
Too many races in the last year and a half. Just a commodity. They''ll get another claimer and repeat the process. Disgusting
Edith Baldassarre More than 1 year ago
Sheer greed and inconsiderate of Saginaw. He had just raced on August 1st. Why push, push, push. Ya know why greed. I love horse racing but there comes a time when these old warriors need a rest. You put him to rest alright for ever. Shame on you Jacobson.
Rob Beaudoin More than 1 year ago
30 days is pushing? This horse was on top of his game and while I'm sure he had his problems he wouldn' t have been in such good form if he was off to the point that this would happen. Its horseracing and unfortunately this happens.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
saratoga dirt and turf have been turned into lightning fast speed favoring tracks just like at santa anita and the result has been more fatal breakdowns this year...maybe the track wants to save on the water bill but the fact is its rained less this year during the saratoga meet and the track should have watered more and made it fair.it did not and what we've seen is mad speed dashes for the inside rail..as for SAGINAW he deserved better than having to chase a 15x winner carrying 14 pounds more.at 130 lb..and i say having to chase because there was no way he could have won from off the pace considering the bias. This was a horse that i saw in a 25 000 claimer before his win streak and even i could see he did not belong there and would go on to bigger races. Its very sad that it ends this way for a warrior that always ran his heart out.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
So Ray, what would YOU do with one like him?