Vets: Arcadius' Death At Steeplechase Was Unavoidable
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The horse that died after winning the Iroquois Steeplechase will be buried near the track at Percy Warner Park. However, questions are being raised about whether these race horses are being pushed too hard.
Arcadius's death from a pulmonary aneurysm stunned the crowd of 25,000 on Saturday afternoon as well as the Steeplechase director, Dwight Hall.
"It's like being hit with a sledgehammer," said Hall on Sunday morning.
Hall said the event itself was flawless; traffic flow and crowd control were excellent; the track was in the best shape ever; and not one horse or jockey were injured during the event. But, Arcadius' sudden death left everyone in shock.
"It is a huge loss. You can't replace him. You can't replace him," said Hall.
Arcadius, an 8-year-old, world class, grade one racing horse, galloped to victory in the 7th race of the day. But veterinarians said while Arcadius was at a cooling station minutes after that win, he suffered a pulmonary aneurysm and heart attack.
"These horses are bred to do this. You know if you see them at the barn, they get excited. He did what he was bred to do and what he loved to do," said Hall.
But the headline spreading around Nashville that 'Racehorse Dies After Winning $90,000 Prize' had some questioning if it's all worth it.
But watching the race again, Veterinarian Monte McInturff said the post-race aneurysm was purely coincidental, that it could not be diagnosed or prevented.
"This happens to horses running freely in a field, just like it could happen to me or you at some point," he said late Saturday night.
In fact the jockey, Brian Crowley, told Hall he wasn't even pushing the Arcadius through the finish line. The horse did that on his own.
"He said he was basically sitting there as a passenger, the horse was taking him. Yes, the horse pushed himself," said Hall.
The last time a horse died at Steeplechase was in 2005. Organizers pointed out that not one single horse or jockey was injured during Saturday's event, and they feel as though this death was simply unavoidable.
The necropsy report for Arcadius will be available on Monday afternoon.