07/29/2017 12:01PM

Two horses euthanized after breaking down at Saratoga


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Two horses suffered fatal injuries while training over Saratoga’s main track Saturday morning, while another horse suffered a non-life-threatening injury during Friday’s Curlin Stakes, leaving horsemen and racing officials searching for answers.

Howard Beach, a 2-year-old colt trained by Rick Violette, and Positive Waves, a 3-year-old gelding trained by Tony Dutrow, both suffered fractured sesamoids and fractures of the cannon bone in their right forelegs while putting in workouts Saturday morning. Both horses had to be euthanized on the track.

On Friday, Everybodyluvsrudy, who finished fifth in the Curlin Stakes, came out of the race with a condylar fracture, according to his trainer, Rudy Rodriguez. He will have to undergo surgery to have a screw inserted to repair the leg. Also on Friday, Angels Seven, a 3-year-old filly trained by Nick Zito, suffered a fatal injury during a turf race and had to be euthanized on the course.

The incidents came within 24 hours of a huge Saturday card at Saratoga that features the Kentucky Derby winner, Always Dreaming, and the Preakness winner, Cloud Computing, running in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy.

The injuries sustained by Howard Beach and Positive Waves both occurred between the three-sixteenths pole and the eighth pole. Howard Beach is a homebred son of Congaree who had finished second in his career debut at Belmont Park on July 14. He was working at around 7:15 a.m. when he went down.

Positive Waves, by Gemologist, had finished fourth in his first two starts for Dutrow, whose Team D Stables purchased him for $170,000 as a 2-year-old. He was working in company with another horse shortly after the 8:45 a.m. renovation break, when the highest number of horses is typically on the track.

Violette believes his horse took an awkward step in midstretch. He didn’t assign blame on the condition of the racetrack, but he added, “You can’t blow it off and say that it can’t be the racetrack. All investigations are necessary, all possibilities have to be explored.”

Violette is also the president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

Dutrow didn’t want to blame the track either but noted that his gelding was in “excellent shape,” and he didn’t expect that horse to get hurt in a workout.

“I’m not blaming the racetrack in my situation, but it doesn’t sound good, does it?” Dutrow said. “I won’t be working any horses over there.”

On July 22, Wantztbwicked, a 3-year-old colt trained by Chad Brown, suffered a fatal injury to his right foreleg while galloping out after a workout.

Glen Kozak, the New York Racing Association’s vice president for racing surfaces, said he and his staff do their routine daily maintenance of the surface, which includes a soil analysis and measuring moisture content. Kozak said he has not found any issues with the main track.

“As far as I’m concerned, we’re doing our normal maintenance and standard procedures for what the cushion is,” Kozak said. “I’m comfortable with that.”