If jockey Jon Court hadn’t broken his hand, I wonder if the death of Thoroughbred racehorse — Canadian Winner — would have been reported at all. We the public probably would never have heard about it otherwise, as with so many breakdowns and deaths in American horse racing. In this case we do know because jockeys were hurt (not that they are given much more consideration that the horses they ride).
The Daily Racing Form reports:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Jon Court suffered a broken hand while fellow jockey Jose Ortiz emerged body-sore but otherwise uninjured in a two-horse spill in the 13th and last race of the Kentucky Derby program Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The incident occurred nearing the half-mile pole on the main track, where Canadian Winner, ridden by Court, broke down badly. Appealing Alex was trailing him and could not avoid him, throwing Ortiz.
Canadian Winner, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, had to be euthanized. Appealing Alex, trained by Nick Zito, was vanned off the track. The extent of his injuries was not immediately known.
Racehorse Memorial Wall Worldwide reports that Canadian Winner broke down, unseated rider, did not finish, fractured left front ankle.
In the comments to the post, John Jp states:
A Wayne Lukas horse broke down!? Well knock me over with a feather.
Oddly, the comment got two thumbs down. I don’t know why. Just because Lukas is old, let’s not get overly sentimental and forget the many horses who have passed through his hands who have not come to a good end, according to folks who have been in the game for decades and witnessed it. And not just Thoroughbreds, but Quarter Horses too.
Yet, Lukas has been inducted into the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. In 2014 Lukas was given the 2013 Eclipse Award of Merit. Sigh.
Jockeys put their lives as risk every time they ride a race. They know that; we know that. But it is particularly hazardous in the US where their mounts are at such an unpalatable high risk of breaking down.
I wonder how Canadian Winner’s breakdown looked on Churchill Downs’ new mega viewing screen — said to be the the size of three basketball courts and viewable virtually from every vantage point at the historic racecourse. And how many were still in attendance to see this tragedy unfold.
We wish Court and Ortiz a speedy recovery. Run in Peace, Canadian Winner.
See also Kentucky Derby Day: Jockeys Injured, Horses Okay in Race 3 Spill; Louisville Courier-Journal
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