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Preakness: Horse trained by Bob Baffert euthanized hours before Triple Crown race

BALTIMORE — Havnameltdown, a horse trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, was euthanized on Saturday after suffering an injury to its left front ankle during the sixth race of Preakness Day at Pimlico Race Course.

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The 3-year-old colt, the favorite in the sixth race, called the Chick Lang Stakes, fell during the final turn on the inside on the stretch run at the Baltimore track, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The horse threw his jockey, Luis Saez, who was hospitalized, according to The Washington Post. Saez was conscious but complained of lower leg pain, the Sun reported.

Havnameltdown was euthanized on the track, according to the newspaper. According to a statement from 1ST Racing, which owns and operates the track, the colt was looked at by chief veterinary officer Dionne Benson and others, The Associated Press reported. They determined the injury was inoperable and decided the horse should be put down, the track said.

The last time a horse was euthanized on Preakness Day was in 2016, when two horses were put down, the Sun reported.

Havnameltdown’s death comes after seven horses were put down in the 10 days leading up to the Kentucky Derby earlier this month, including two on Derby Day. Another horse was euthanized during a race at Churchill Downs on May 14.

Baffert, 70, later saddled National Treasure in the Preakness Stakes and earned his record-setting eighth victory in the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown. It was Baffert’s first Triple Crown race since the 2021 Preakness, the Post reported

Baffert’s colt, Medina Spirit, won the Kentucky Derby that year but was later disqualified after failing a drug test. The violation resulted in a suspension for Baffert, who was not allowed to saddle any horses for Triple Crown races in 2022.

In a statement, PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said that Baffert should be barred from Pimlico.

“Pimlico should have followed Churchill Downs’ example and barred Bob Baffert from the track,” Guillermo said. “The tragic death of Havnameltdown is the latest in a long line of fatalities.”