Fourth horse dies at Aug. meet Rockville Academy destroyed after breakdown in 4th race

Pimlico notebook

August 18, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Rockville Academy, a 3-year-old gelding, became the fourth horse in 11 racing days to die at Pimlico Race Course after he broke his right cannon bone just below the knee in the six-furlong fourth race yesterday.

Because of the severity of the fracture, the horse was euthanized on the track.

Jockey Steve Hamilton was admitted to Sinai Hospital, having fractured four ribs and an elbow. No other horses or riders were injured when the horse fell at about the 7/16ths pole.

Other equine fatalities of the current meet are Royal Keepsake, who broke down in a six-furlong race approaching the quarter pole on opening day (Aug. 3); Groom's Reckoning, another breakdown victim, broke his leg inside the quarter pole on Aug. 7 in a race at 1 mile, 70 yards; and Brassafrass, a 2-year-old filly who was destroyed after a freak accident at the starting gate on Aug. 8.

The Brassafrass incident has been ruled an accident. But the other three deaths probably will be attributed to breakdowns. However, it's unclear whether Keepsake's breakdown was an accident. The horse might have clipped heels, fell and then broke his leg or broke his leg first and then fell, said Dr. David Zipf, head state veterinarian at the track, who will make a ruling in the matter. Track veterinarians report all findings on breakdowns to the Association of Racing Commissioners International Inc., an organization comprised of racing commissioners from about 50 jurisdictions, which is conducting a study on such injuries.

Lenny Hale, Pimlico/Laurel vice president of racing, said each occurance "is distressing. But I've been at tracks where we've gone through much worse. Once at Hialeah there were two five- and six-horse spills in two days. It seems everything goes along fine for awhile, then these things happen in bunches.

"These recent breakdowns seem unrelated. By that, I mean they didn't happen in the same spot on the track. I've been told by a number of horsemen that the track has never been in as good a shape as it is now."

Over the years, the track at Pimlico has been the target of a number of complaints by horsemen regarding racing-related injuries. The 118th running of the Preakness this year was marred by the breakdown and eventual destruction of 3-year-old colt Union City.

Maryland Million Preps

Jazzy One and Gayquare, both Maryland Million nominees, scored impressive Pimlico victories yesterday and are being pointed for the rich Oct. 9 race card.

Trainer Scott Posey said Jazzy One "has been hooking gorillas. Today she got in a little lighter and won," defeating Wood So by three-quarters of a length in the $27,000 allowance feature.

Posey said Jazzy One will probably run next in the Alma North Handicap at Timonium.

Gayquare, who spent nearly two years on the shelf recovering from a severely bowed tendon, beat Riskey Red by four lengths in the $18,500 co-feature.

He is eligible for the $50,000 Maryland Million Starter Race, written for horses that have started for a $16,000 or less claiming price.

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