BC Ends with Death of Mongolian Groom

After two days of racing that included 153 horses, the bad run of luck with breakdowns and catastrophic injury raised its ugly head once more when Mongolian Groom was euthanized after running in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. He was the 37th horse to die at the California track since December. 

MONGOLIAN GROOM (Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup photo)

The marquee race was the last of the two-day world championships, in which 13 other Cup races ran without injury. Mongolian Groom was part of the early pace in the 1¼-mile race, but jockey Abel Cedillo pulled up the 4-year-old gelding near the eighth pole as the rest of the field charged toward the finish line.

A green screen was rushed onto the track to block Mongolian Groom from the view of 67,811 fans and a prime-time television audience. He was loaded onto an equine ambulance and taken to a hospital on the backstretch.

Breeders’ Cup officials said in a statement about two hours after the race that Mongolian Groom had been euthanized after suffering a serious fracture to his left hind leg and that four veterinarians were consulted before the decision was recommended to euthanize. Breeders’ Cup officials said they have hired Dr. Larry Bramlage to conduct an independent evaluation with the results to be made public when completed.

“The death of Mongolian Groom is a loss to the entire horse racing community,” a statement from Breeders’ Cup Ltd. said. “Our equine and human athletes’ safety is the Breeders’ Cup’s top priority. We have worked closely with Santa Anita leading up to the World Championships to promote enhanced equine safety. Santa Anita has implemented numerous industry-leading reforms to enhance the existing health and safety measures with the intent of providing a safe racing environment.”

TRACK OFFICIALS tend to Mongolian Groom. (Associated Press photo)

Mongolian Groom had three wins in 16 career starts and earnings of $579,141. He was coming off a victory over BC Classic favorite McKinzie in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita in September.

Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, Mongolian Groom was trained by Ganbat Enebish and owned by Mongolian Stable, the name of Ganbaatar Dagvadorj’s racing operation.  

The Breeders’ Cup also beefed up its own prerace exams and observations of Cup runners. Four horses were scratched Saturday from the Breeders’ Cup races after prerace exams by vets found issues concerning enough to keep them sidelined for the day.

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2 Responses to “BC Ends with Death of Mongolian Groom”

  1. If 4 horses were scratched due the veterinary prerace examination, there must be more that can be done in the prerace examination. I am not a veterinarian but it seems logical there should be radiographs taken before every race. If every possible measure is not undertaken to attempt to eliminate race day breakdowns, I fear this will be the end of horse racing.

  2. You are not alone. There is little we can do to completely stop the catastrophic breakdowns, but the industry should be doing everything we can to try to limited them as much as possible. We should all be concerned about this issue and any future related government regulations – federal and/or state. At the risk of causing all horsemen to do back flips, it would seem some kind of standard medication/no medication policy and affordable xrays should be part of any proposed solution.

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