Horse, Cathedral Reader, euthanized after race at Keeneland

Published: Apr. 6, 2019 at 6:37 PM EDT
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A horse has died following a race at Keeneland on Saturday afternoon, according to GMB Racing.

Cathedral Reader, a 4-year-old filly who is owned by GMB Racing, did not finish the Madison Stakes (G1) due to a broken leg, the ownership group says.

Greg Bensel of GMB Racing Operations confirmed to WKYT that Cathedral Reader had to be euthanized due to the injuries after the race.

This comes after the deaths of 23 horses at Santa Anita race track in California since December.

Bob Elliston, Keeneland's vice president of sales and racing, told WKYT in a recent interview that his organization feels for the people dealing with the uptick in horse fatalities at Santa Anita.

He said although they are keeping an eye on the situation, Keeneland is not necessarily changing their approach.

Elliston said that Keeneland looks at policies that oversee things like medication and conduct of racing. They focus on research with the goal of protecting one of the state's signature industries.

Congressman Andy Barr met with owners of Santa Anita during the past couple of days to discuss the recent deaths.

"As chairman of the horse racing caucus and the representative of the horse capital of the world, I feel it is my responsibility to take a look at what happened," Rep. Barr said.

In addition to his weekend meeting, Rep. Barr is also proposing a piece of legislation striving to protect and improve the horse industry.

The Horse Racing Integrity Act aims to establish some federal authority in horse racing and consistent rules for drug use across state lines. It also implements a nationwide anti-doping program.

"We want to make sure when we have tragedies like we've seen the last couple months at Santa Anita," said Rep. Barr, "that political organizations that are critical of our industry don't have any oxygen to hurt our sport."

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason issued a statement on the fatal injury to Cathedral Reader:

“On what was an otherwise spectacular day, our celebration is tempered due to the catastrophic injury sustained by Cathedral Reader during the running of the Madison. We have spoken with Ms. Gayle Benson’s Racing Manager, Greg Bensel, and trainer Dallas Stewart, expressing our sympathy for their loss. As is the law in Kentucky, the horse will be transported to the University of Kentucky Diagnostic Lab for a complete necropsy.

"Keeneland, in full cooperation with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, will perform a full investigation, which includes continued evaluation of race track surface conditions, forensic review of past race performances, veterinary records, and personal interviews with the jockey, trainer and attending veterinarian. Keeneland has received nothing but positive feedback about the racing surface since it reopened in mid-March from the winter break. As is Keeneland’s normal procedure, we will review and evaluate all facets of our racing operation to ensure the safest possible environment for the equine and human athletes participating in our racing program."