Two horses die early on Preakness Stakes day

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The second leg of US racing’s Triple Crown series was marred on Saturday with the deaths of two horses in the first four races on the card.

Hours before the running of the 141st Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland, the winner of the first race, Homeboykris, was being taken back to his barn after having his picture taken in the winner’s circle when he collapsed and died.

In the fourth race, Pramedya, a four-year-old filly owned by Barbaro’s owners, Gretchen and Roy Jackson, fractured her nearside cannon bone on final turn for home on the turf course. Her jockey Daniel Centeno and suffered a fractured right collarbone.

Pramedya (Harlan’s Holiday x Stay Awake, by Pulpit), who was having only her fifth start, was euthanised on the track. She was the winner of two races.

The Jackson’s 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, broke a hind leg 10 years ago on the same track at the start of the Preakness Stakes. He survived surgery but succumbed to laminitis several months later, in January 2007.

A necropsy would be performed on nine-year-old Homeboykris at the New Bolton veterinary center in Pennsylvania, but it is thought he had suffered a heart attack, trainer Francis Campitelli said.

“So apparently, not long after leaving the winner’s circle, the boy that takes care of him said they had gone probably 100 yards, and he got wobbly and fell over and he pretty much was dead when he hit the ground,” Campitelli told 247 Sports.

“They’re thinking at this point it was some sort of heart attack — you know, ruptured aorta or something like that. We won’t know until they do a necropsy on him, just to find out exactly what happened.”

Maryland-bred Homeboykris (Roman Ruler x One Last Salute, by Salutely) was owned by a group called “Stirrup Trouble LLC”, which included former New York Yankees Joe Torre. The day he died was his 14th race win from 63 starts, and he had earned more than $1 million in his racing career. He had finished 16th in the 2010 Kentucky Derby.

Exaggerator won the Preakness Stakes with Cherry Wine 3½ lengths back in second. Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist was beaten into third place a nose behind, after leading the 11-strong field for much of the way.

Exaggerator is trained by Keith Desormeaux and was ridden by his brother, Kent. It was the horse’s fifth victory in 11 starts. He ran the mile and 3/16 in  1:58.31 to take home the $900,000 winner’s purse.

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