Bob Baffert’s National Treasure crossed the finish line first in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, ending Mage’s Triple Crown bid in the trainer’s return from suspension, and just hours after another of his 3-year-old horses were slaughtered on the track.
Baffert headed to the winner’s circle the same day his colt Havnameltdown went down with a fatal left leg injury in an undercard race. Baffert said he and his team were in shock.
It was another dark moment for a sport already reeling from the deaths of seven horses at Churchill Downs in a 10-day period leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
Derby winner Mage finished third in the Preakness. Their loss means there will be no Triple Crown winner for the fifth consecutive year.
Earlier in the day, Mage was declared fit to race after bumping his head in his stall and taking a few stitches to close a cut above his right eye.
Co-owner and bloodstock agent Ramiro Restrepo said the Kentucky Derby winner hit his head Thursday, causing a superficial cut and receiving treatment from state veterinarians. Restrepo confirmed in a text message to The Associated Press on Saturday that Mage has resumed training without any interruption.
Veterinarians examined and cleared Mage and the other six Preakness horses to run in the $1.65 million race later Saturday. Pre-race scrutiny has been increased in Maryland, including the inspection of each horse in the larger races by Stronach Group Veterinary Director Dr. Dionne Benson.
First Mission, another leading Preakness contender, was scratched Friday on the advice of veterinarians who expressed concern about his left hind ankle. Five horses were scratched before the Derby two weeks ago, including favorite Forte.
Check back for more on the developing story.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Are you ready to place a sports bet on the upcoming Belmont Stakes or other sporting events? Head over to FOX Bet.
Play on FOX Super 6 every week for your chance to win thousands of dollars every week. Just download the Super 6 app and make your choices today!
HORSE RACING trend
2023 Preakness Stakes odds, best bets, predictions, expert picks
How to Bet on the Preakness Stakes: Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica’s Expert Picks, Best Bets
Derby Champion Mage Makes Horse Racing More Than ‘Sport of Kings’
2023 Preakness Stakes: Horses, Post Time, TV Schedule, How To Watch
2023 Preakness Stakes Odds, Predictions: Favorites, Picks & More
2023 Kentucky Derby: Mage wins first leg of Triple Crown; The Mack mattress loses a lot
How to bet on horse racing: the beginner’s guide
Horse racing legend Tom Durkin returns to call the Belmont Stakes on FOX
How to bet on the Kentucky Derby: Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica’s expert picks, the best bets
Get more from horse racing Follow your favorites for information on games, news and more