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Tragedy in Distaff

Pine Island put down after terrible tumble

New York Daily News
By Sherry Ross
November 5, 2006

Pine Island struggles with mangled left foreleg that forces vets to euthanize her. Jockey Javier Castellano is thrown but unharmed.  

The fatal injury suffered by Pine Island in the $2,260,000 Distaff brought back too many painful memories for trainer Michael Matz. "Nobody wants to see a good horse get hurt or have a tragic loss like that," said Matz, who won the race with Round Pond ($29.80). As the trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who suffered a fractured right hind leg in the Preakness, Matz knows the heartbreak firsthand.

While Barbaro was saved, the Shug McGaughey-trained Pine Island, the second choice in the race, suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of her left front ankle coming out of the first turn and fell. The dislocated ankle broke her skin and introduced infection into her bloodstream, according to Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith, a veterinarian on call. The multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old filly was euthanized shortly after being placed in the horse ambulance.

Jockey Javier Castellano fell heavily but was uninjured and returned to ride Bernardini in the Classic.

"This is a really tough one to take," McGaughey told ESPN. "I've been in this business a long time and this is something you just cannot get used to."

"She was running good," Castellano said. "We got on the backside, and I asked her to switch leads, and it happened so fast. She broke down. I don't know what else to say."

Round Pond was ridden to victory by Edgar Prado, who was in the saddle when Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby and two weeks later when he was injured in the Preakness.

Favored Fleet Indian was pulled up at the head of the stretch with injuries to both suspensory ligaments in her left front foreleg, but her situation was not as severe and it is likely she will be saved for broodmare duty.

In addition to the injuries, there was a disqualification involving runner up Asi Siempre, who was moved down to fourth after interfering with Balletto, who crossed the line fourth and was moved up to third. Happy Ticket placed second.

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