Horse safety is paramount at Iroquois Steeplechase

Posted at 10:06 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 23:16:38-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After the controversial Kentucky Derby last weekend that nearly caused a collision on the racetrack, more people have their eye on the safety of the horses at the Iroquois Steeplechase this weekend.

At the Derby last week, the leading horse crossed into the path of another horse in a packed field, but officials at the Iroquois Steeplechase say what happened at the Derby isn't likely to happen here -- mostly because there are only at most 11 horses on the field at once -- the derby had 19.

They say the longer race lengths also allow the horses to spread out more.

But tragedy has struck before at the Steeplechase -- a memorial stands at the track for Arcadius, who collapsed and died just after finishing the best race of his career in 2012.

Officials said the cause was a pulmonary aneurysm. But medical crews will be ready, for both jockeys and the horses.

"We have the horse ambulances stationed around the track. There's three different ambulances out there, there's a whole crew," said Dwight Hall with the Iroquois Steeplechase.