Emergency care beefed up for this year Horse ambulances, team of vets ready

November 01, 1991|By Marty McGee | Marty McGee,Sun Staff Correspondent

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Racing tragedies, such as the one that occurred at last year's Breeders' Cup with Go for Wand, are hardly predictable or avoidable, but Churchill Downs has gone the extra mile to ensure immediacy and proper care in such situations.

The track has two state-of-the-art horse ambulances on the grounds to stabilize injured horses until they can be taken to a clinic. Among the vehicles' features: hydraulic lifts for loading; floor partitions for leaning; and windows, to divert a horse's attention.

Churchill also has a trauma team of five veterinarians and three assistants at a clinic in Simpsonville, about 20 minutes away. The track will also have a a veterinarian to serve as a media liaison to provide information on injured horses.

"Hopefully, we won't need any of it," said Butch Lehr, track superintendent.

* The Cameroon situation will not have any effect on the Breeders' Cup program. Pick-7 betting proceeded as normal yesterday after a Churchill hearing Wednesday evening, when the stewards upheld the Breeders' Cup's revocation of Cameroon's entry in the Turf.

Late yesterday, Churchill released a statement which said that C. Gibson Downing, the colt's owner, had agreed to defer any legal action at least until after the Breeders' Cup.

* There are 16 starters getting Lasix for the first time in the Breeders' Cup, the most notable being Dance Smartly, the Distaff favorite. They are:

Sprint: Take Me Out, Key Spirit, Media Plan.

Fillies: Miss Iron Smoke, Vivano, Miss Legality.

Distaff: Dance Smartly, Richard's Lass, Grand Girlfriend.

Mile: Danseuse du Soir, Jolie's Halo, Sultry Song.

Juvenile: Agincourt, Big Sur.

Turf: Solar Splendor, Miss Alleged.

* Bertrando, 3-for-3 lifetime and the morning-line favorite in the Juvenile, has provided trainer Bruce Headley his second Breeders' Cup starter. His first, Fine Spirit, was third in the 1984 Juvenile Fillies.

"Sitting with the favorite in a $1 million race is a natural high," Headley said. "Oh my goodness, yeah!"

* Trainer Jim Day and Pat Day are not related, although Jim Day jokingly called the jockey "little brother Pat" yesterday.

"Pat has been a Summer Squall fan all along," Jim Day said when asked about the Classic. "If I were a betting man, I'd have to go with him."

Jim Day trains Dance Smartly and Sky Classic, morning-line favorite for the Turf.

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