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Cal Cup Favorite Grazen Suffers Injury, Long Shot Blackbriar Euthanized

Grazen, with jockey Garrett Gomez aboard, sustained a serious injury Saturday during the 6th race at Santa Anita’s Oak Tree California Cup Classic. Initially, the horse was leading in the stretch of the $200,000 race. The injury stunned race fans when they initially though the horse had a broken leg. As the track veterinarian and officials rushed to the horse’s aide, race fans gasped as they assessed the injuries.  It turns out that the 3-year-old horse will not be euthanised after all but certainly will not race again.

Also during the same race, the long-shot Blackbriar broke a bone and was subsequently euthanized.

The injuries were a sad day for racing at Oak Tree meeting. Attendance of 17,576 was the smallest in the event’s 20-year history and was down by more than 3,000 from last year.

Grazen led all the way in the 1 1-8 mile race until jockey Garrett Gomez pulled the 3-year-old gray colt up past the eighth pole, allowing Bold Chieftain to come from behind and win by 1½ lengths at Santa Anita.

Grazen was well ahead for most of the race until the injury - Photos by Terry Miller

Grazen was well ahead for most of the race until the injury - Photos by Terry Miller

According the AP, Grazen injured his right front tendon; with trainer Mike Mitchell saying it appeared he tore it.

“We won’t have to put him down,” he said. “We’ll put a good support on him and he should be OK. He’ll never run again.”

Blackbriar ridden by jockey Brice Blanc broke the sesamoid bone in his right front leg and was euthanized.

More questions than answers were posed after the race, and the biggest question of all is what role, if any, did the synthetic track have on the fate of these two horses?

October 4, 2009

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2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Cal Cup Favorite Grazen Suffers Injury, Long Shot Blackbriar Euthanized”

  1. Damon Stathatos says:

    I am (was) the owner of Blackbriar. After watching the tapes of the race, over and over again, Grazen broke down first and Blackbriar, following in Grazen’s path, broke down second, in the exact same spot of the track. The spot of the track where both horses broke down was also the exact spot of the starting gate for the beginning of the race.
    There are just too many coincidences surrounding these two breakdowns and I must believe that there is some underlying reason. Blackbriar was a ‘rock solid’ horse without ever even a hint of ailment. My inquires with racing officials have, as yet, been pretty much dismissed (although sympathetically so).

    • Val says:

      Damon, I was so sad to hear about Blackbriar and Grazen. I’m just a horse racing fan but also a horse owner who uses them in our business and can relate to the distress of losing one – its impossible not to make personal connections with these magnificent animals.

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