Preakness Stakes 2023 : National Treasure emerged victorious in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, amidst a cloud of tragedy surrounding horse fatalities. The triumph marked a record-setting win for trainer Bob Baffert, who had to make the heartbreaking decision to euthanize an injured horse earlier that day, and it also marked his return to the race after being banned last year.
National Treasure, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, entered the race at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course as the second favorite, with Mage, the surprising longshot winner of the Kentucky Derby, holding the top position in the betting odds. However, it was Blazing Sevens who finished a close second, while Mage settled for third place.
For Velazquez, this victory at the Preakness Stakes 2023 National Treasure emerged victorious in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, amidst a cloud of tragedy surrounding horse fatalities. Stakes was his first, while Baffert celebrated an unprecedented eighth win in the prestigious race.
Reflecting on the achievement, Baffert shared his thoughts with NBC Sports, stating, “This horse deserved it. We all believed in its potential.”
Unfortunately, a series of recent horse fatalities has cast a shadow over this year’s Triple Crown races. Leading up to the Kentucky Derby, seven horses lost their lives at Churchill Downs within an eight-day period.
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Tragically, just hours before the Preakness Stakes, Havnameltdown, a 3-year-old colt trained by Bob Baffert, suffered a severe ankle injury during a previous race, ultimately leading to its euthanization.
Dr. Scott Hay, the on-call veterinarian for the American Association of Equine Practitioners, explained, “Havnameltdown sustained a devastating left front ankle injury, which occurred around the turn. The extent of the injury made it impossible to transport the horse, necessitating its immediate and humane euthanasia.”
The horse’s rider, Luis Sáez, was thrown from the saddle during the incident and was subsequently taken to a nearby hospital due to leg pain.
Expressing deep sorrow, Baffert took to Twitter, stating, “We are utterly devastated. This has come as a shock to everyone in our barn who deeply loves and cares for these magnificent animals every day. Havnameltdown clearly endured a significant impact coming out of the gate. While we are unsure if that contributed to the injury, we commit to complete transparency as the incident is reviewed. Right now, our thoughts are with Luis Sáez, and we hope for his speedy recovery.”
Baffert’s participation in a Triple Crown race for the first time since 2021 comes after his suspensions resulting from the disqualification of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit due to a failed drug test.