Mending Fences put down after breaking ankle

Flashy Bull beats Hesanoldsalt in thrilling undercard race


Preakness Stakes

May 20, 2007|By Bill Ordine and Kent Baker | Bill Ordine and Kent Baker,Sun reporters

As was the case with Barbaro last year, a Preakness Day injury proved fatal to a racehorse.

Mending Fences, a dark bay 4-year old, was leading the Grade II, $250,000 Dixie Stakes, the 10th race of the day, when he broke down as he neared the far turn.

The horse's jockey, Eddie Castro, lost his saddle, and when another horse, Einstein, tried to avoid the fallen Mending Fences, he tossed rider Robby Albarado (eventual winning jockey in the Preakness).

Mending Fences suffered a condylar fracture of his right front ankle and had to be euthanized. Neither jockey was hurt, and Einstein escaped serious injury.

"Going around the turn caused [Mending Fences] to dislocate the ankle," said Larry Bramlage, on-call veterinarian for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. "When he went down, the fracture went through the skin. That made the prognosis grave."

Winner Remarkable News altered course to the outside to avoid Mending Fences as he entered the far turn. Cosmonaut jumped Mending Fences and went on to finish second. Outperformance was third.

Ramon Dominguez, atop Remarkable News, had one of the better views of Mending Fence's collapse.

"He really didn't stumble, he just fell to the ground," Dominguez said. "I couldn't even avoid him, even if I wanted to. I was very close to him, but he didn't interfere with me. I just hate to see that happen."

Castro was at a loss to explain the accident.

"The horse broke his leg, I know that," he said. "I don't know what happened."

Remarkable News won by three-quarters of a length in a 1:46:36, two-hundredths of a second off the track record.

More undercard

The most thrilling race on the undercard was the Grade III, $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap. Flashy Bull and Hesanoldsalt battled head and head down the lane, with the former winning by a head bob at the wire.

Rafael Bejarano, one of the most capable, lesser-known riders in the country, scored two wins in a row by ignoring a bump into the rail from Southwestern Heat in the Grade III, $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs.

The long shot bore in on Bejarano and Street Magician, who reacted calmly and went on to win by a length. Bejarano came right back in the Grade III, $100,000 Gallorette to prevail with favored Precious Kitten, who shaved a hundredth of a second off the previous course record for 1 1/16 miles. Her time was 1:40.32.

Diabolical, who finished eighth in 2006's Preakness, redeemed himself in the Grade III, $200,000 Emirates Airline Maryland Sprint Handicap, outlasting Talent Search in what was basically a two-horse duel.

Steve Klesaris, co-owner and trainer of Diabolical, was injured in an automobile accident near Delaware Park on Friday, and could not attend.

His father, Peter, told The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., that Steve is "real sore and banged up" and needed plastic surgery over one eye. He was sitting at a traffic light waiting to turn when "all of a sudden he saw a car coming right at him. There was nothing he could do."

Klesaris was taken to Christiana Hospital and released early this morning.

Crowded house

A crowd of 121,263 poured into Pimlico Race Course yesterday to break the Preakness Day attendance record. The previous high was set last year, at 118,402. Wagering on the card from all sources totaled $87,202,550, the fourth-best all-time.

On the money

The Sun's Kent Baker had a strong performance selecting winners on Preakness Day. Six of the horses he picked in yesterday's Preakness preview section won their races, including Curlin in the Preakness. In fact, he presciently wrote: "The pick is Curlin by a fraction."

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