The famous horse trainer Bob Baffert was deeply conflicted after one of his horses was euthanized, while another one won the Preakness Stakes, all on the same day. Speaking with the Associated Press, Baffert noted that this day perfectly reflected the twists and turns of the sport.
National Treasure Won the Preakness Stakes
The horse that won the event was none other than National Treasure. Its participation in the event came right after Baffert’s two-year suspension expired. The trainer was originally suspended after the 2021 Kentucky Derby when one of his horses, Medina Spirit, tested positive for an anti-inflammatory drug that is not allowed during race days.
National Treasure won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, effectively trampling Mage’s chance for a Triple Crown. The victory at the $1.65 million race marked a record-breaking eighth Preakness victory for Baffert.
National Treasure’s victory marked the first Preakness race victory for its jockey, John Velazquez. The rider praised the horse for its outstanding performance.
The champion horse paid $7.80 to win, $4 to place and $2.60 to show. The favorite to win the race was the Kentucky Derby champion Mage, which ended up finishing third.
The Passing of Havnameltdown Upset the Trainer
While National Treasure’s win certainly made Baffert proud, the prior death of another horse saddened the trainer.
Baffert’s Havnameltdown, a three-year-old colt, injured his left front leg in an undercard race just a few hours before the Preakness Stakes. As a result of its injury, the young horse had to be euthanized, much to Baffert’s dismay.
The trainer revealed that he felt pained seeing the horse get hurt. Because of that, he couldn’t properly enjoy National Treasure’s victory.
The only silver lining is that Luis Saez, Havnameltdown’s jockey, did not seem badly hurt. While he was immediately rushed to a hospital, the X-rays failed to detect a serious injury.
Baffert couldn’t take Havnameltdown out of his head all day, saying that the incident has really affected them.
Luckily, US horse racing deaths are at their lowest level since they started being tracked back in 2009. However, a string of recent incidents has once again highlighted the dangers of the sport and the need to do more to prevent on-track deaths.
As a result, new medication and doping rules will be introduced next Monday, with horseracing authorities hoping to make a change.