Joy to disaster in blink of eye

October 21, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

Trainer Bob Fowler remembers standing in the paddock before yesterday's third race at Laurel Park and telling his jockey, Ronnie Gerardo:

"This horse messed around on us a little bit in his last start. I've put blinkers on him today and I think he'll win."

Fowler's prediction, at 10-1 odds, proved correct. But then just about the worst-case scenario that could happen in a horse race occurred.

Fowler's horse, Quadramill, broke his right cannon bone just a stride or two past the finish line, and his injury was so severe that he had to be euthanized on the track.

He was disqualified from winning by the stewards for bumping another horse, the 3-5 favorite Papal Pardon, at the start. It was the second time in his past six starts that Quadramill had been disqualified from a victory.

"I walked out of the racetrack with the horse's owner, Mr. [William] Dowdy, and he told me: " 'This is the first horse I've owned that has won two races and died a maiden,' " Fowler said.

The trainer added: "Not only did we lose a bet today, but we lost the purse and we lost the horse."

When Quadramill broke down, he threw Gerardo under the inner rail. "When I got to the jock, he had a bloody mouth and a scraped nose, but he was conscious and knew who I was," Fowler said.

After Quadramill and Gerardo went down, two other horses and jockeys fell over them, including eventual winner Butthatainthay, with Carol Bradshaw aboard, and also-ran Pedro Lizarzaburu, who was on Delightful Marine.

Gerardo and Lizarzaburu were transported to Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital where, according to Laurel Park's publicist, Craig Sculos, examinations revealed no serious injuries and the jockeys were treated and released.

Bradshaw also was not seriously hurt, although she decided to take herself off her other mount later on the card.

Butthatainthay and Delightful Marine also were said to be OK.

Track veterinarian Pat Brackett said that Quadramill's fatal injury occurred when he either bobbled or stumbled with his left leg and then stuck out his right leg to save himself.

"His weight was distributed improperly and caused the cannon bone to snap right through the middle."

Veterinarians did not even try to load the horse on an equine ambulance, but humanely destroyed him on the track.

Fowler said he has re-run the incident several times in his mind "to try to figure out if I did anything wrong. I can honestly say this was a sound horse and what happened was just an accident.

"This was a sound little horse without an ounce of Bute [legal painkiller Butazolidin] in him. I bought him as a weanling at Timonium for $2,500 and raised him myself for Mr. Dowdy, who is my principal owner.

"Something like this breaks my heart. This game never gets easy.

"I really like all of my horses, no matter if they are $3,000 maidens or $8,500 maidens -- as long as they are honest and try hard like this little gelding.

"I know when I get to the track and see this horse's empty stall [this morning] there is going to be a cloud hanging over my head.

Fowler also trains a six-horse string at the Charles Town Races in Charles Town, W. Va., and operates a farm near the town of Waterford in Loudoun County, Va.

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