Saturday, November 06, 2010

Can You Name Five Breeders Cup Champions Who Died Because of Laminitis? Can You Name Ten?

Video produced by StudioTEN Creative Group; Producer, Eileen Matthews
for the 5th International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot.
Narrated by Glenn Close (who also lost a horse to laminitis)

It's Breeders Cup weekend and Hoofcare Publishing hopes you are enjoying the spectacle at Churchill Downs, as the world's best racehorses compete for fame and glory and riches. For many, these will be their last races, and the vans will take them straight to Lexington and a new life on a breeding farm on Monday morning. In the meantime, this is their chance to make it into the history books. 

Many who made it into the history books at the Breeders Cup lost their lives prematurely to the terrible disease of laminitis. You may know about Kentucky Derby winners like Secretariat and Barbaro, but many other famous Thoroughbreds couldn't beat the disease, either. And many of them were Breeders Cup champions.

Five great champions may come to mind: Bayakoa, who won the Breeders Cup Distaff (know called the Ladies Classic) in both 1989 and 1990; Kip Deville who won the Breeders Cup Mile in 2007;  and Sunday Silence, who won the Classic in 1989, Black Tie Affair who won it in 1991, and Saint Liam, who won it in 2005. 

Some whose deaths weren't quite so well publicized but who should not be forgotten are Arcangues, who won the Classic in 1993; Barathea who won the Mile in 1994; Flanders who won the Juvenile Fillies in 1994; Outstandingly who won the Juvenile Fillies in 1984; and In the Wings who won the Turf in 1990.

So there you have at least ten champions. Who knows how many more there may be? All had their greatest moment winning at the Breeders Cup. All probably had their worst moments experiencing the pain of laminitis; most were euthanized because of the disease, to end their suffering.

Each could beat the best racehorses of his or her generation, but couldn't beat laminitis.

What are the statistical odds that Zenyatta, once retired to life on a farm, will develop some form of laminitis?

Perhaps if you win big on a bet today or maybe if you just dream big of living in a horse world where laminitis is at least manageable and preventable, you'll send a donation in the memory of a fallen champion to a laminitis research charity. 

The Hoof Blog recommends The Laminitis Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, as featured in this video.

Learn how to make a donation--no matter how large or small--to the Institute by sending an email to Institute administrator Patty Welch: 
Learn more about the Laminitis Institute at

And, if you'd like to mark your calendar, the 6th International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot will be in full swing one year from today. The conference returns to West Palm Beach, Florida on November 4-6, 2011. Watch for news at the conference web site:
See you there.

Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Join the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page


aperson said...

The work of laminitis research is reflected so well in this article. I must say, this type of article really educates those that may not have the time to go to the conferences, and this goes a long way in promoting understanding of laminitis prevention and treatment.

frank mitchell said...

Hi Fran,

This is a fascinating blog loaded with great information.

With regard to Saint Liam, however, the published report was that he broke a tibia and had to be put down because it was inoperable.

Regards for all your good work,

Fran Jurga said...

Thanks for the comment about Saint Liam. I'll check my notes. He is in my laminitis file and you are correct that it sounds like he was euthanized soon after his accident. I apologize if the information I have for him is inaccurate and I'll have a verification on this when I get back to the office later today.