HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KARK) – A week into the racing season and Oaklawn sees a tragedy on its track.
This all unfolded on Sunday during a race when a horse had to be euthanized.
We’ve learned this only happened because the horse fell mid-race, and was severely injured.
Veterinarians deemed it was more humane to put him down.
This is not something the Oaklawn Racing Community takes lightly.
The horse’s name was Spirogyra. He only raced nine times.
We talked to several veterinarians that were not on this case but have spent years working with horses at Oaklawn.
They tell us, medical care is a priority.
These horses have private vet teams. There are also state vets that check over and make sure every horse is okay to race, and if a horse can be saved, they do everything in their power to save them.
“It takes a piece of you every time you have to look an animal in the eye and put them to sleep. Anyone that gets used to that, they need to get out of the business. It’s something that’s only done to save the animal from excruciating pain,” said Dr. William Hawk a veterinarian.
Often when you hear about a horse injured in a race like this one, it brings up questions of doping or if the horse was being forced to race through an injury.
Oaklawn has strict rules against that. Over a racing season, vets will run thousands of blood tests to make sure competitors here are following the rules.
Every one just saying this was a worst-case scenario and the best option they had.