A race horse had to be euthanized on the track just hours before the Preakness Stakes. It's the latest in a slew of horse racing deaths surrounding the Triple Crown.
A race horse was euthanized on the track just hours before the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
Havnameltdown stumbled and threw its jockey, and vets said the horse had a "non-operable" injury.
The death comes just weeks after seven horses died in the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby.
A horse was euthanized on a Baltimore racetrack on Saturday, following a devastating injury to its left front ankle during an undercard race that took place just hours before the Preakness Stakes.
The horse, Havnameltdown, stumbled during the race and threw its jockey, Luis Saez, who has since been hospitalized. Havnameltdown had been trained by Hall of Fame Bob Baffert, who recently returned from a two-year suspension after one of the horses he trained failed a drug test.
Baffert released a statement via Twitter saying he was "devastated," and that he's hopeful Saez will recover.
"This is a shock to everyone at our barn who love and care for these horses every day," Baffert's statement said. "Hanvameltdown was obviously hit pretty hard coming out of the gate. We don't know if that contributed to the injury, but we will be fully transparent with those reviewing this terrible accident."
1/ST Racing, which owns the Pimlico Race Course, released a statement explaining that Havnameltdown received immediate on-track medical attention by an "expert" team of veterinarians after the fall. The lead veterinarian, Dr. Dionne Benson, then observed a "non-operable left fore fetlock injury."
"Due to the severity and prognosis of the injury, Dr. Benson and her counterparts made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the horse," the statement said.
Havnameltdown's death comes after a slew of other horse fatalities surrounding the Triple Crown, which includes the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.
Within a 10-day period in late April and early May, ahead of the 149th Kentucky Derby, seven horses died. Some were euthanized following injuries, and two were labeled "unexplained sudden deaths" and their trainer was suspended indefinitely," NPR reported.
The deaths have sparked criticism from animal rights activists, and Churchill Downs announced it would partner with the Kentucky Horseracing Commission and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to investigate the deaths and improve safety at races.
"We will rigorously work to understand what caused these incidents and build upon our existing data, programs and practices to better understand what has been incredibly difficult for us to witness and accept," Churchill Downs said in a statement in early May.
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