The capable two-year-old Thoroughbred filly, Secret Compass, was euthanized on November 2. She broke down as the horses approached the final turn in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies held at Santa Anita Park. Both horse and rider fell. Her jockey John Velazquez was dumped to the ground and was injured. Secret Compass “sustained a lateral condylar fracture with dislocation" and became the first Breeders’ Cup casualty since 2007.
Velazquez was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to remove a ruptured spleen and stop any further internal bleeding.
Wayne McIlwraith (BVSc, FRCVS, PhD , Dipl. ACVS, Dipl. ECVS), was the on-call veterinarian from the American Association of Equine Practitioners. He said,
It is the worst type of injury we get, unfortunately. There is no other alternative.
Secret Compass was bred and raised in Kentucky. She was owned by Westrock Stables, had won two of her four starts and showed early promise. Secret Compass had already earned $216,120.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was saddened by the loss of Secret Compass. He has had to endure a number of fatal injuries in the past and on this day he watched Secret Compass get put down. Baffert said, “When you lose a horse like that, it just took all the wind out of our sails. These horses are so close to us ... We're all are still in shock."
Baffert also said,
This game can be brutal. The highs and lows are just so strong. I’ve had some great moments and some sad moments. We get up every day, and win, lose or draw, we love these animals no matter where they run. It’s very emotional to lose one of them.
He was clearly forlorn by the loss of Secret Compass.
If you enjoyed this article by Heidi Rucki, please click the link above to subscribe and get others. It’s free, informative and anonymous. Read Rucki's articles on Examiner.com.