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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Following radiographs indicating that Mongolian Groom had sustained fractures in the lower portion of his cannon bone and upper portion of his pattern, injuries that are not life sustaining, the Breeders’ Cup Classic challenger was euthanized shortly thereafter.

Mongolian Groom was immediately attended to by an expert team of veterinarians, led by board certified veterinary surgeon Dr. Ryan Carpenter following the incident.

During their evaluation at the equine hospital at Santa Anita, they observed a serious fracture to his left hind limb. Given the extent of the injury, Dr. Ryan Carpenter, in consultation with Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, veterinary surgeon and professor emeritus at Colorado State University, Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director of the California Horse Racing Board, and attending veterinarian Dr. Vince Baker, recommended the humane solution.

The following statement was released immediately after the horse was euthanized: “The death of Mongolian Groom is a loss to the entire horse racing community. Our equine and human athletes’ safety is the Breeders’ Cup’s top priority.

“In addition, Breeders’ Cup always observes the most thorough up-to-date medication practices and restrictions, testing protocols, equine security and surveillance program, veterinary exams, injury management protocols and racing surface testing. 

These measures are in place to ensure our athletes are racing under the safest and most transparent conditions possible. “Breeders’ Cup has engaged world-renowned veterinarian, Dr. Larry Bramlage, to conduct an independent evaluation, the results of which will be published when completed. 

“We will continue to keep all stakeholders apprised as information becomes available. We are committed to working with our partners in the industry to continue to advance safety reforms, with the well-being of our athletes in mind.”

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7 Responses

  1. JP–
    The Breeder’s Cup bet it all by sticking with Santa Anita– and they lost badly. The optics of having a horse breakdown in the Classic was about as bad as it can get for horse racing and the Breeder’s Cup put itself in a no win situation by keeping the races at a track with a terrible recent history for equine deaths.
    The lead story on the Breeder’s Cup today on all the media outlets was the death of Mongolian Groom with little if any mention of the results of the Breeder’s Cup races themselves. And the Breeder’s Cup committee has only itself to blame…..
    My deepest condolences for the connections of Mongolian Groom –I will always remember their brightly colored, shimmering garb before the race and I can only imagine their sadness thereafter. And hopefully the tragic death of this noble steed will help bring about needed change in the horse racing industry–before it is too late.
    Chuck from Saratoga

  2. I’ll have more to say in coming days on this, let it suffice to say for now that I feel vindicated for being pro synthetic.

  3. Chuck, IMO, Breeders’ Cup was in a damned if you do and don’t situation. Is the message that Santa Anita is unsafe, we have no confidence, and that one of America’s premier racetracks with a rich history should probably be closed? I think that could have become the first domino.

    BC and SA were big winners until the last quarter mile when an overachiever, originally pointed for a race in Japan (December I believe), entered here on a shorter rest and hardly was the freshest of animals. Further, he was used hard trying to put pressure on the race favorite all the way down the backside, and was a horse that disappointed badly in its final workout?

    Don’t think BC is the culprit. But you’re right about one thing. They rolled the dice and got a one and a one.

  4. It might be the only answer for Santa Anita at this point. Everyone will have a lot more to say on this. I wrote a longer piece for Sunday…

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