Cardiac Death at Saratoga, Saez Transported to Hospital

Saez and the late Burning Bright in the post parade | Sarah Andrew

Norm Casse trainee Burning Bright (Empire Maker) crashed through the temporary rail in Wednesday's race 7 at Saratoga, the 1 5/8-mile John's Call S. on the grass, with all early reports indicating the 6-year-old gelding, who collapsed and died, sustained a probable cardiac event. The Equibase chart stated Burning Bright “suffered a fatal cardiac event on the second turn and hit the rail then fell.”

Jockey Luis Saez was alert and conscious following the spill, but was strapped to a backboard by attending paramedics and sent by ambulance to Albany Medical Center with pain in his shoulder/collarbone area.

Saez's agent Kiaran McLaughlin tweeted Wednesday evening that Saez “sustained a dislocated right collar bone and a slight fracture in his left wrist today. No surgery needed.” Saez had recently picked up the mount on GI Kentucky Derby winner Mage (Good Magic) in Saturday's upcoming GI Travers S.

An official statement from a New York Racing Association (NYRA) spokesman said, “During the running of Race 7 on Wednesday at Saratoga Race Course, Burning Bright (#3) appears to have had a major cardiovascular event in the clubhouse turn causing his sudden death. Burning Bright was trained by Norm Casse and ridden by Luis Saez, who was unseated and will be transported to Albany Medical Center for further evaluation. Saez was conscious and alert with movement in all extremities and complaining of pain in his shoulder/collarbone.”

An additional NYRA statement added: “Five horses have sustained catastrophic injuries during racing at the 2023 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, which opened on July 13 and has featured 2,226 horses starting in 294 races. One horse (Burning Bright) died suddenly during the running of a race due to a major cardiovascular event.”

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