02/17/2013 12:40PM

Turf Paradise: 2012 Phoenix Gold Cup winner Derive euthanized after breaking down

Coady Photography
Derive, honored as the top horse at last year's Turf Paradise meet, broke down while attempting to defend his title in Saturday's Phoenix Gold Cup.

Derive, Turf Paradise horse of the meet for the 2011-2012 season after winning six straight at the Phoenix track, including the 2012 Phoenix Gold Cup, broke down while defending his title Saturday and had to be euthanized.

Track veterinarian Dr. Jack Muller confirmed that the 7-year-old Derive tore suspensory ligaments and fractured both sesamoids in his left front ankle.

"This is the toughest time I've ever had walking into the winner's circle," said Derive's trainer, Robertino Diodoro, who also saddled the winner, L., A. Weekend. "This is not the way it's supposed to be. This is heartbreaking."

Derive, owned by Rick Wiest, who also owns L. A. Weekend, won 9 of 27 and  $256,204.