The day after the Preakness was a little gloomier than usual yesterday in the stakes barn at Pimlico.
Two horses, including fourth-place finisher Personal Hope, bled during the race and will miss the June 5 Belmont Stakes.
And the extent of injuries to Union City, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained runner who broke down midway through the backstretch and later was destroyed, were more extensive than originally reported.
Lukas reacted angrily to suggestions that the horse should not have started in the race because he had missed a day's training Wednesday and had not had a speed workout or breezed between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness as all of the other starters did.
"I also walked Bellewood that day [Wednesday] because of the heat," Lukas said. He used the same kind of no-workout training procedure with Tank's Prospect, his 1985 Preakness winner and stakes record holder. Lukas added that press reports of the incident have hurt racing. Bellewood, the Lukas-trained filly, finished sixth last Friday in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
Dr. David Zipf, chief veterinarian representing the Maryland Racing Commission, said Union City also sustained a condylar fracture of his cannon (shin) bone in addition to the fracture of two sesamoids in his ankle. "The [condylar] fracture penetrated through the skin and there was some bleeding," Zipf said.
Zipf added that the horse was not insured and that when Lukas first arrived on the scene "he was pretty sure then that the horse would have to be destroyed. But you never know if somebody will come along and want the horse for stud duty. Once you hit the juice [euthanize the animal], it's a one-way ticket."
Union City was taken by horse ambulance to the stakes barn after the race, but was not unloaded. After more consultation between Lukas and veterinarians, the ambulance drove away and the horse was destroyed.
Unlike humans, horses are not cooperative patients when injured and the chances of healing such extensive injuries and preventing infections are considered remote.
Zipf said that when Hajji's Treasure broke down in the Preakness in 1985, the horse also fractured both sesamoids and that Union City had actually lost less support to the ankle than Hajji's Treasure. "But that horse [Hajji's Treasure] did not have a compound fracture besides and could be saved," Zipf said.
Union City marked the second time a Lukas-trained horse has broken down in Maryland this year. On Feb. 15, Lukas-trained Mineral Wells broke two sesamoids in his left foreleg in the General George Stakes at Laurel and was destroyed.
Zipf added that he had inspected Union City before the Preakness. "He was on his toes and feeling good," Zipf said. "He jogged and was sound."
Mark Hennig, trainer of Personal Hope, said his horse bled badly in the Preakness. "He's going to get a little time and we'll shoot for a later campaign," he said. "I'll probably keep him in light training, but I'm not planning to run him in the next month or so." Hennig said that Personal Hope had never bled before. If he had, "I would have run on Lasix."
Too Wild, the 11th-place finisher trained by Nick Zito, also bled in the Preakness. It was discovered at the stakes barn after the race by Dr. Dan Dreyfuss. "Herb [McCauley, the jockey] said he was starting to make a run, but he started climbing [high action in front]. That must have been when he bled."
Six of the Preakness finishers, including winner Prairie Bayou, are either definite or probable starters in the Belmont Stakes.
Runner-up Cherokee Run, third-place finisher El Bakan and the defeated Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero are definitely Belmont-bound. All of them left Pimlico early yesterday for the New York track.
Woods of Windsor, the Maryland-bred who finished sixth, and Wild Gale, the eighth-place Preakness finisher, are considered possible Belmont starters.
Where horses who finished the Preakness are headed:
Horse ..... ..... ..... Next stop
Prairie Bayou ... ..... Belmont Stakes
Cherokee Run .... ..... Belmont Stakes
El Bakan ........ ..... Belmont Stakes
Personal Hope ... ..... Bled; gets month's rest
Sea Hero ........ ..... Belmont Stakes
Woods of Windsor ...... Monmouth Park; probable starter in
.. ... ... ... ... ... Belmont Stakes
Rockamundo ..... ...... Mid-West 3-year-old stakes
Wild Gale ...... ...... Belmont Park; probable starter in Belmont
.. ... ..... .... .... .Stakes
Hegar ..... .... ...... Mid-West 3-year-old stakes
Koluctoo Jimmy Al ..... Colin Stakes (Belmont Park)
Too Wild .. .... ...... Bled; gets rest
TRIPLE CROWN CHALLENGE
Although there will be no Triple Crown winner this year, the horse that accumulates the most points in the three-race series earns a $1 million bonus.
Points are awarded on a 10-5-3-1 basis for finishing first through fourth. To be eligible for the bonus, a horse must finish in all three races.
Here are the standings after the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The top four horses are likely to run in the Belmont Stakes; Personal Hope is not.
Horse ..... ..... Points
Prairie Bayou .... 15
Sea Hero ......... 10
El Bakan .......... 3
Wild Gale ......... 3
Personal Hope ..... 2