A Bob Baffert-trained horse was put to death on the track at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday before the Preakness Stakes. The video of the incident has now gone viral.
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The accident happened to Havnameltdown, who was being trained by the previously suspended Baffert, during the day’s sixth race, the Chick Lang Stakes. The jockey, Luis Saez, was tossed as the horse faltered on the last turn, according to the Washington Post. Havnameltdown continued running but was halted on the homestretch to require quick medical assistance since he was clearly injured.
Havnameltdown was put down after being diagnosed with a “non-operable left fore fetlock injury,” and a dark screen was put up around the horse to keep the spectators from witnessing what was happening. The Post claims that throughout the incident, music played at the track, but many present were unaware that a horse was being put to death behind a screen.
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Saez was reportedly injured in his leg as he was brought by ambulance to a local hospital. His injury’s specifics and current state are unknown.
Baffert is making a comeback to the Triple Crown at the Preakness. His horse, Media Spirit, won the 2021 Kentucky Derby before failing two drug tests, and as a result, he has been banned from racing for the past two years. National Treasure, who will run in the Preakness on Saturday night, is trained by Baffert.
Havnameltdown’s passing is just the most recent in a troubling run of fatalities in horse racing over the past month.
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Baffert, who has been connected to multiple horse deaths over the years, was demanded to be barred from Pimlico by PETA, and the Humane Society issued a statement stating that immediate reform is required. Baffert celebrated another horse he trained, National Treasure, winning the Preakness Stakes shortly after the death.
In the past, horses cared for by Baffert have passed away. Since 2000, at least 74 horses have passed away under Baffert’s care in California, according to the Washington Post. According to a Washington Post investigation, Baffert’s horses have perished at the highest rate among the 10 trainers who have had the most horse deaths while taking into account the amount of races ran.