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Home / training injury

Breeders’ Cup entrant seriously injured at Santa Anita track

A horse who was scheduled to run in next weekend’s high-stakes Breeders’ Cup Classic was seriously injured during a workout at Santa Anita Park Saturday.

Geaux Rocket Ride is a 3-year-old colt with three first-place finishes and two second-place finishes among his five career races. He was working out under jockey Mike Smith, a member of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, when the injury occurred.

“Geaux Rocket Ride sustained an open condylar fracture with intersesmoidian ligament damage to his right front leg during a workout this morning under Mike Smith, who was uninjured, dismounted, and tended to the horse,” the Breeders’ Cup announced Saturday.

“Geaux Rocket Ride was taken via equine ambulance to the Southern California Equine Foundation equine hospital at Santa Anita Park and has since been transferred to his barn to undergo additional evaluation and diagnostics to determine the appropriate course of action. Our thoughts, along with those of the entire racing community, are with trainer Richard Mandella, the Pin Oak Stud LLC team, and all those who care for him during this difficult time,” the statement continued.

Santa Anita is gearing up to host the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 3-4, one of the sport’s biggest events. Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic also includes Kentucky Derby winner Mage and Belmont Stakes winner Arcangelo in its 14-horse field.

The Arcadia track has seen 12 horses die from a racing or training injury this year, with another eight racehorses dying from “other” causes, according to the California Horse Racing Board. Santa Anita officials have touted safety improvements that have brought down the annual number of fatalities since 2019, when 42 horses died at the track, sparking widespread debate about safety issues at Santa Anita and about horse racing in general.

Breeders’ Cup officials also say they’ve taken all necessary safety precautions for next weekend’s event.

“Leading up to the World Championships, the Breeders’ Cup has been working closely with Santa Anita Park, the California Horse Racing Board, and our veterinary team to ensure every Breeders’ Cup runner is fit to race,” the racing group said in Saturday’s statement.

“The Breeders’ Cup Veterinary Team also coordinated with regulatory and track veterinarians across the country to thoroughly review the veterinary records associated with all potential Breeders’ Cup runners starting in early October. This expanded veterinary review protocol is designed to ensure, to the extent possible, every horse that made the trip to Santa Anita Park for the World Championships was sound to race and train. …

“Safety always comes first, which is why Breeders’ Cup and industry leaders like the CHRB and 1/ST Racing have been longtime advocates for the uniform safety and integrity reforms that eventually became part of HISA. We are constantly evaluating and updating our safety and screening measures so we can continue to provide the safest possible racing environment.”

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