Tragedy at Pimlico as Two Horses Die Prior to Preakness
The rain and gray skies set a somber tone for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes day. And before the biggest race, tragedy struck at Pimlico. Two horses died in the opening four races, and a jockey was injured in a nasty spill.
In the opening race of the day, 9-year-old Homeboykris, a Maryland-bred gelding, collapsed and died after winning and having his picture taken in the winner’s circle. Track officials believe the 9-year-old gelding suffered cardiovascular collapse.
The son of Homeboykris’ trainer Francis Campitelli tweeted: “Devastating loss. Homeboykris hasn’t taken a bad step since we’ve had him. Owner claimed him to assure he went to good home after race career. Freak accident.”
Homeboykris ran in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, finishing in 16th place at 50-1 odds. He is partly owned by Joe Torre, a Major League Baseball executive and a Hall of Fame manager. Homeboykris won 14 of 63 lifetime races with earning in excess of $560,000.
Pramedya, a 4-year old filly making just her fifth career start, broke down around the turn and tumbled to the ground in the fourth race, sending jockey Daniel Centeno to the turf. Pimlico racing officials said Pramedya was euthanized on the track after breaking her front left leg. Centeno was driven off in ambulance and suffered a broken collarbone.
Pramedya was owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stable, who had previously owned Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby champion who was injured 10 years ago at the Preakness and eventually had to be euthanized.
According to a New York Times article from 2012, 24 horses die each week at racetracks in the United States. PETA released a statement on Saturday calling for the immediate release of the horses’ veterinary records and a list of any medications they were given in the two weeks leading up to their races.
“Studies — and our own investigations — have shown that most breakdowns and deaths occur because horses have pre-existing injuries that are masked by the excessive use of legal medications. We want to know if that is what happened in the cases of Pramedya and Homeboykris,” said PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo.
“We have been advocating for no medications to be administered to horses in the two weeks before a race so that if a horse is sore or ill, the track veterinarian will be able to detect it,” the statement continued. “In today’s racing drug culture, at least three horses are dying every day on U.S. tracks. The foolish use of muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and other medications must end now.”