Two Horses Put Down After Injuries At Churchill

LOUISVIILLE, KY -- Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan escaped serious injury when his mount fell in yesterday's first race on an afternoon in which two horses suffered fatal leg fractures at Churchill Downs, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal in its Sunday edition.

Bridgmohan's mount, Vinstar, was euthanized after the fall, which occurred as the horses were approaching the finish line. Naughty Fu Peg also was euthanized after being eased in the fourth race, reports the C-J.

The incidents brought the number of fatal breakdowns to six after 41 days of Churchill's spring meet, according to Darren Rogers, senior director of communications at the track. He said five of the breakdowns have occurred in races, one during morning training.

Among the five was the filly Eight Belles, whose breakdown just after finishing second in the Kentucky Derby has brought renewed national attention to fatalities among racehorses.

Rogers said there were 17 fatal breakdowns last year at Churchill over 73 racing days, including the fall meet. He said 14 occurred during races, the newspaper reports.

In 2006 there were 18 fatal breakdowns -- 14 during races -- over 78 days, he said.

Bridgmohan, who started the day in sixth in the jockey standings with 36 winners, had guided 3-5 favorite Vinstar alongside the leaders nearing the sixteenth-pole when the 3-year-old colt was initially injured. Bridgmohan was dropped in the process of trying to pull up Vinstar and appeared to be kicked by a trailing horse as the jockey rolled under the rail, reports the newspaper.

Bridgmohan was taken to Norton Audubon Hospital after complaining of pain in his left leg and right arm. His agent, Doc Danner, said X-rays revealed no fractures.

"He's a little banged up, but the good news is nothing is broken," Danner said in a release from Churchill. "I just came from the hospital, and he was getting dressed and ready to leave. He has some cuts and scrapes, and we'll just take it day to day, and hopefully he'll be back to riding soon."

Vinstar was euthanized after fracturing sesamoid bones in both front legs and dislocating his right fetlock, which serves as the ankle joint, according to chief state veterinarian Lafe Nichols.

Vinstar, trained by Steve Asmussen for owner Jess Jackson, was in the $50,000 maiden-claiming race after finishing fifth in a maiden special-weight event in his previous startl, reports the Courier-Journal.

He was claimed out of yesterday's race by trainer Mike Maker and meet-leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. The Ramseys are still responsible for paying the claiming price.

In the fourth race, for $30,000 claimers who had never won two races, 16-1 Naughty Fu Peg was eased the last sixteenth-mile and later given a lethal injection after fracturing the knee of his right foreleg.

The 3-year-old gelding, trained by Tim Burton for owner Sano Park, finished eighth in the same type of race on June 5. He won a $30,000 maiden-claiming race on April 26, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

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