Seven year old New York fan favorite Saginaw injured his left front leg last Friday afternoon and, after a set of x-rays confirmed severe damage, was humanly euthanized shortly thereafter.
Saginaw, who was just $26,000 short of being a “millionaire”, took a bad step leaving the 7/16th’s pole in Friday’s third race at Saratoga Race Course and fractured both sesamoid bones in his left front ankle.
The sesamoids are two bones located under a horse’s ankle and act like “pulleys” for the two major tendons (deep digital flexor and suspensory) that run down the back of the leg.
The former $25,000 claimer was the odds-on favorite to win the six furlong Starter/Optional Claimer race, but he never made it to the finish line.
Jockey Junior Alvarado, who was visibly shaken after the race, tried to pull him up, but he said Saginaw, who had the heart of a lion, “tried to keep running” and, like in the eerily similar cases of the great Ruffian and Go for Wand, only further worsened the injury.
After Alvarado finally got him stopped the gelding, who was named National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Claimer of the Year for 2012, was vanned back to trainer Dave Jacobson barn where the x-rays were taken.
“He’s got multiple comminuted sesamoid fractures,” examining veterinarian Dr. Michael Galvin said.
Galvin talked about possible surgery where metal plates would be used to fuse the joints together. But Saginaw would endure pain over the next few months and there was no guarantee of survival.
“It was explained to me he’ll be in pain for two or three months, and there’s a very good chance he could develop founder,” Jacobson said. “It doesn’t seem to be the right thing to do based on the experts that have advised me”.
“Money is not an issue,” Jacobson added. “It’s just the pain that he would go through.”
Saginaw, who was trying for his 6th consecutive win, was euthanized later Friday afternoon.
“It’s a very sad day,” Jacobson told the Daily Racing Form. “He brought us a lot of joy. It was an honor to work with a horse of his caliber. He had those races where he was beat and refused to lose.”
Winner of 21 total races from 41 starts, with six seconds, three thirds, and earnings of $974,690, among the stakes the gelded son of Peruvian captured include John Morrissey Stakes, the Affirmed Success Handicap at BelmontPark, the Compelling Word Stakes and Hollie Hughes Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Other stakes won by Saginaw included the Gravesend Handicap, Fourstars Allstar Stakes, Promenade All Stakes, the 2012 Affirmed Success, and the Carr Heaven Stakes.
Bred by Ted Taylor in New York out of the Devil’s Bag mare Devilzene, Saginaw was born and raised at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds.
He was beloved by an enormous amount of fans, mostly on the New York circuit. Of course, with me being from New York, I’ve watched scores of his races and his will to win was quite a sight to behold. I do have some connections with owners of Saginaw (Drawing Away Stables) and my heart goes out to them.
I found this on youtube, thought it was a nice tribute:
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